NORTH YARMOUTH – Police found a body deep in the woods behind the home of missing teacher Kristin Westra on Friday but would not say whether they think it was her.

Capt. Craig Smith of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office did say that the search for Westra has been suspended while authorities focus on the body. The state medical examiner’s office is on the scene, working to make an identification.

Smith would not say whether the body is a woman or a man and wouldn’t say who found the body.

State police and Maine Game Warden K-9 teams had begun a fifth day of searching for Westra, a 47-year-old North Yarmouth resident who disappeared from her house Sunday night.

Crime scene tape went up Friday morning in front of a house on Gray Road, also known as Route 115, but officials would not say whether the body was found on that property. A large tract of woods separates that home from Westra’s home at 76 Lufkin Road.

Westra was reported missing Monday morning by her husband, who has said his wife was experiencing anxiety and had a “safety assessment” Sunday before she disappeared from their home.

“Sunday morning, Kristin was experiencing what I would call some anxiety and she expressed that she had some sleepless nights and was worried,” Jay Westra said this week in an interview with NBC News.

No one answered the door at the Westra home Friday, and no vehicles were in the driveway.

Westra, a teacher at Chebeague Island School, was last seen at the family’s home on Lufkin Road when she went to bed with her husband around 8 p.m. Sunday, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said. She could not be found when her family woke up Monday morning, although her vehicle, keys and cellphone were at the house.

MacDonald said Jay Westra remains cooperative with investigators.

An intensive search began later Monday, focusing on the wooded area around her home. Authorities found no clues to Westra’s whereabouts during searches Tuesday and Wednesday of the wooded area within a roughly 1.5-mile radius of her home that “eliminated with high probability” she was in the vicinity of the house that she shared with her husband, daughter and stepson, Game Warden Cpl. John MacDonald said.

On Thursday, game wardens and detectives followed up on what authorities initially believed was credible information they received Wednesday evening of a possible sighting of Westra. But by Thursday night, Capt. Scott Stewart of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said the information was investigated and was no longer being considered.

Kristin Westra’s brother, Eric Rohrbach, has described his sister as an early riser and as someone who is active and fit, and that leaving the home without telling anyone or having a way to communicate is deeply out of character for her.

Jay Westra said Kristin was not on any medication, and said he would have supported her if she said she needed some time away. After the visit with the medical professional Sunday, Kristin had planned to have blood work done Monday. She also had a plan to return to her usual running and yoga – activities that had been disrupted by the start of school and an ongoing renovation project at their home – and to make slight changes to her diet and her sleep patterns.

“She told me she felt better. We had a plan,” Jay Westra said. “Kristin is a person who when she has a plan, she sticks to the plan and she follows through and she does things well, every time.”

This story will be updated.

Crime scene tape went up in front of a house on Gray Road in North Yarmouth, also known as Route 231, but officials would not say whether it was related to the search. (Eric Russell/Portland Press Herald)


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