The search for a missing Chebeague Island teacher entered its fourth day Thursday, but law enforcement officials said they were encouraged by reports of recent sightings of the woman, according to multiple media reports.
“Although we’ve remained positive throughout the entire investigation, we’re extremely positive this morning based on this new information we received last evening,” Cpt. Scott Stewart of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office told the Portland Press Herald. “I don’t want to get into specifics but it is credible information and we have resources geared in that direction.”
Kristin Westra, 47, went to bed around 8 p.m. Sunday night, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office. When her family woke up the following morning, she was gone. Her keys, cellphone and vehicle had all been left behind at her home on Lufkin Road in North Yarmouth, the sheriff’s office said.
Stewart told CBS 13 investigators keep “certain pieces of information … close to the chest” as a way of determining whether incoming tips are accurate or credible.
“Obviously we’re not sure if it’s Kristin that was sighted, but we’re hopeful,” Cpl. John MacDonald of the Maine Warden Service told CBS 13. “So we want to eliminate the fact that it could be.”
Westra’s husband, who spoke publicly for the first time to NBC News Wednesday, reportedly felt his wife get out of bed around 3 a.m., but she had been having trouble sleeping lately, and he assumed she just went to try and get comfortable in another room.
Jay Westra told NBC News “the only thing that was unusual” after Kristin disappeared was that the back entrance to the garage was left open slightly.
“So that may be a way she left the building,” he told the television station. “Our front door is noisier, and she may have left the back door, not trying to wake anyone up.”
He also said he doubted she was taken from the house by force.
“She is a strong, powerful person and I would’ve heard something,” Jay Westra told NBC News. “I can’t imagine a scenario where somebody would be able to take her from the house without noise and without a fight.”
Kristin Westra’s brother, Eric Rohrbach told ABC News previously his sister’s married life is “fantastic” and her relationships with her 9-year-old daughter and 16-year-old stepson are great.
He acknowledged that his sister said she was under some stress over work and home renovations, and that she’d been having trouble sleeping, but that “the thought of her doing this to her family [on purpose] is completely out of the norm.”
While police are limiting the official search to trained teams, who are utilizing drones and tracking dogs, friends and family members said they are in the area and trying to help any way they can.
“Just looking for a piece for a piece of clothing or anything that would look weird,” friend Jennifer Gubbins told CBS 13. “And the map that we have it shows a 2-mile radius where they did a thorough combing. You can see where they’ve walked where dogs have been. Plus, it’s so dense. You go out there and you’re like ‘holy cow.’”
Westra is described as a white female, 5 feet, 10 inches tall, 140 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Anyone who may have information about Westra’s location is asked to contact Cumberland County Regional Communications Center, 207.893.2810, option 2.
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