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Crime News Missing Persons

Police Are Searching for Missing New Jersey Teacher in "Heavily Wooded" Area After Car Found at Hotel

Lara Emanuele, 46, was last seen on June 7. Her car was found the next day at a Holiday Inn Express in Roxbury, New Jersey.

By Elisabeth Ford
What Is A Citizen Detective?

Police are still searching for a New Jersey elementary school teacher who mysteriously went missing in early June.

Lara Emanuele, 46, was last seen on June 7, according to a news release from the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. Her car was found on June 8 at a Holiday Inn Express in Roxbury, New Jersey.

Emanuele — a teacher at Alexander Hamilton Elementary School in Morristown, according to News 12 New Jersey — is 5 feet, 6 inches tall with red hair and weighs about 125 pounds.

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The news outlet reported that Emanuele previously had a restraining order against her husband, but had recently lifted it.

A source told News 12 that Emanuele was afraid something might happen to her because she was allegedly in an abusive relationship.

An employee at the Holiday Inn Express, where authorities discovered Emanuele’s car, told CBS News that police confirmed that video surveillance footage shows her parking and exiting the vehicle.  

A photo of Lara Emanuele

Searches for Emanuele have been underway since last Thursday, including in the Berkshire Valley State Wildlife Management Area, near the hotel where her car was discovered.

The prosecutor’s office said it has been working with the Roxbury Police Department, Morris County Sheriff’s Office, New Jersey State Police Aviation Bureau, and New Jersey Search and Rescue in a “coordinated operation” to find the missing woman.

“At this time we are asking that the public rely on the law enforcement agencies and trained civilians to continue handling the search,” Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll said in a June 12 release, in response to the outpouring of offers from community members to help find the teacher. “The search area is comprised of heavily wooded terrain and there are areas that may have dangerous wildlife.” 

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Carroll added that K-9 units are being used to track in the search and that having people other than known law enforcement and trained civilians searching could affect the dogs’ search efforts.

“I’d like to assure the public that all capabilities available to law enforcement are being utilized to locate Lara,” Carroll said. “We understand the public’s concerns, and we will do our best to update the community whenever possible. I want to thank all of the law enforcement personnel involved for their dedication and tireless efforts in this continuing search.”

Police ask anyone with information regarding Emanuele to contact the Roxbury Police Department or the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. They are also asking any hunters who have trail cameras in the wildlife search area to review them and check if they recorded anyone from June 7 until now. Hunters with information should contact the Roxbury Police Department.

Authorities encourage the public to continue sharing information about Emanuele on social media.

Friends of Emanuele have been posting pictures of the missing teacher on social media, using the hashtag #BringHerHome, CBS News reported.

“Lara is a dedicated, creative teacher who fosters positive relationships with her students, their families, and her colleagues,” Morris School District Supt. Anne Mucci told the Morristown Green. “We are all praying for her safe return.”

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