Elementary School Teacher Disappears from Home, Leaving Keys & Phone: 'Something Out of a Nightmare'
Kristin Westra, an elementary teacher at Chebeague Island School in Maine, was reported missing on Monday morning by her husband
A Maine teacher and mom of two vanished from her home late Sunday or early Monday and her husband says he awoke to discover her gone and her phone, car and keys left behind at their home in a rural area of North Yarmouth, PEOPLE confirms.
Asked if authorities suspect foul play in the mysterious disappearance of 47-year-old Kristin Westra, an elementary teacher at Chebeague Island School, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Stewart tells PEOPLE, “We’re not leaning in that direction. Usually we would have found her by now.”
“There’s a lot we don’t know,” Stewart says. “Usually we’ll have a better idea to lead us in one direction or another, but unfortunately right now we can’t rule one avenue out as opposed to another.”
Jay Westra, Kristin’s husband, said he last saw his wife about 8 p.m. Sunday when the two went to bed at their home, which sits on a wooded lot along Lufkin Road home in North Yarmouth, about 14 miles north of Portland, according to authorities.
When Jay awoke the next morning, Kristin was nowhere to be found, police said.
“It is not known if she has a vehicle or why she would be missing,” the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said in a missing-persons alert.
Authorities also aren’t sure when Kristin left her home, what clothes she was wearing, where she might have been headed or why or if she was wearing shoes.
Says Capt. Stewart: “We don’t have a lot to go on, is the problem.”
The “complicated search” of the surrounding area, which is wooded with heavy undergrowth, was further obstructed by “very foul weather” on Tuesday, Stewart says.
About 70 searchers — including those with the Maine State Police and civilians with the Maine Association for Search and Rescue aided by trained dogs — have covered about two miles around Kristin’s home since she was reported missing by her husband about 9 a.m. Monday.
Although the family has neighbors, the homes are several hundred feet apart, Scott says.
Kristin’s brother, Eric Rohrbach, said she did not have a history of mental illness and did not take medications that might have altered her behavior, although authorities offered a theory that she may not have been thinking clearly and believed she needed to flee her residence, reports the Portland Press Herald.
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“It’s incredibly surreal. It’s something out of a nightmare,” Rohrbach said, according to the newspaper. “It’s a horrible situation to think that she’s immobilized somewhere in the woods. But there’s a huge party searching for her.”
He said his sister — who has a 9-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old stepson — recently dealt with the twin stresses of ongoing remodeling and renovation at both her school and the family’s home.
“When she comes home, [they] don’t have a place to relax,” Rohrbach told the Press Herald. “They were like eating dinner in the garage. Kristin is someone who likes to come home and curl up with a book, and she couldn’t do that.”
Kristin had plans with friends and a doctor’s appointment scheduled for Monday, her brother said. But her husband told Rorbach that she was restless trying to sleep Sunday night, Rorbach said.
Police surmise she may have just walked out of her house.
“It was raining and she left without her keys, without her car, without her phone. And we think she was wearing flip-flops,” Rohrbach said, according to the Press Herald. “She does a lot of yoga and she does a lot of running, but she doesn’t do it at that time of night. And if she did, the Kristin I know would have told Jay or brought her phone.”
Kristin is 5-foot-10-inches tall, weighing about 140 lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Any sightings or information should be shared with state police at 207-624-7076 or the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office at 207-893-2810.