A corpse found by two children playing in the woods has been identified as that of a Maine school teacher who vanished from her home.
Kristin Westra disappeared from the North Yarmouth, Maine house she shared with her husband, Jay, and two children early Monday morning, leaving behind her car, keys and cellphone, according to the Press Herald, a newspaper in Portland. The grandchildren of a neighbor found her body Friday, less than half-a-mile behind the home.
“My heart was crushed today,” Jay Westra wrote on Facebook Friday afternoon.
An autopsy of Westra’s remains was conducted Sunday, the Press Herald reports. Besides identifying the body as Westra's, Capt. Craig Smith of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the Maine Medical Examiner’s office determined she died by suicide.
Westra, however, did not leave a suicide note before she disappeared, Smith said.
Westra, 47, was last seen alive on Sept. 30 when she and her husband went to bed. When her husband awoke the next morning, he said, she was gone. Law enforcement and volunteers searched all week for Westra, before the girls stumbled upon her body.
Jay Westra told NBC News Wednesday that his wife had been anxious and sleepless of late. "She expressed that she had had some sleepless nights and was worried," Westra said.
The day before she disappeared, Sunday, Jay Westra said his wife had seen a licensed medical professional. "There was a safety assessment and Kristin was not at risk for any harm to herself or anybody else," Westra said.
Addressing questions as to why Westra’s remains were not found by police, Capt. Craig Smith of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said that rainy and dark weather conditions contributed to the failure, before adding “At the time, the thought was more on a rescue, rather than recovery.”
Smith also said that searchers were covering an expanding area, conducting a search that spiraled out as they went. The search team, Smith said, had been planning to cover the area where Westra’s remains were found this weekend.
“Tragically, she was found by the two girls who came upon her while walking through the woods,” Smith said.
Individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts are encouraged to seek help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available to provide emotional support during mental health emergencies, 24/7. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
[Photo: Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office]
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