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Police Searching For Missing Maine Mom Who Vanished Overnight


Kristin Westra was last seen by her husband as they went to bed. There was no trace of her the next morning.

By Jill Sederstrom

Kristin Westra, 47, a mom and local elementary school teacher, was last seen Sunday night by her husband when the two were reportedly going to bed.

But by Monday morning, Westra had vanished, leaving behind her vehicle, cellphone and keys.

The disappearance has prompted a massive search effort by local authorities who say they do not know "why she would be missing," according to a statement posted on Facebook by the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

On Tuesday more than 70 volunteers searched an area near her home looking for clues into her disappearance. The effort also included the Maine State Police, the Maine Warden Service, Cumberland County Sheriff's Office, North Yarmouth Fire Rescue, Chebeague Island Fire Rescue and the Civil Air Patrol, according to news station WMTW.

Lt. Mark Holmquist of the Maine State Police told the Portland Press Herald it was "too soon" to know if the disappearance was suspicious, but said it was uncertain whether the search effort on the ground would continue on Wednesday due to the weather and "information that has come into us" about the investigation.

Westra's brother, Eric Rohrbach, told the paper one theory from investigators is that Westra may not have been thinking clearly and decided to leave the house.  

“It’s incredibly surreal. It’s something out of a nightmare,” he told the paper, calling it a "horrible situation."

A neighbor's surveillance footage captured Westra, who is a mom to a 9-year-old daughter and 16-year-old stepson, returning from a run about 6 p.m. on Sunday night, according to ABC News.

Her husband, Jay Westra, has said he last saw his wife that night before he went to bed.

Rohrbach said Jay told him that he thought Westra, who had allegedly been having trouble sleeping, left the bedroom around 3 a.m. to presumably go sleep in an empty room, ABC News reports.

The next morning, after noticing she wasn't home, he tried calling her cell phone but heard it ringing inside the house, her brother said.

Jay Westra reported her missing at about 9 a.m., according to the Press Herald.

Prior to her disappearance Rohrbach said Westra was under some stress due to renovations at the elementary school where she taught and her home.

“When she comes home, (the family members) don’t have a place to relax.” he 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.”

Despite the stress and lack of sleep, Rohrbach doesn't believe his sister would have taken medication to help her sleep.

"This is very abnormal," he told ABC News of the disappearance.

Westra's coworkers at the Chebeague Island School are also concerned about the teacher's disappearance. Michael Pulsifer, the school's principal and district superintendent, said other teachers have been filling in for Westra during her absence.

“We’re ever hopeful that Kristin will be found safe. We are keeping the faith,” he told the Press Herald.

Westra is described by the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office as 5'10" tall and 140 lbs with brown hair and brown eyes. They are asking anyone with information about the case to contact authorities.

"This is a difficult situation for Ms. Westra's family and friends and we are working diligently to help find her," they said in a statement.

[Photo: Cumberland County Sheriff's Office]