(Host) Police believe that they have found the body of a St. Johnsbury Academy science teacher who had been missing since late Sunday night. Her students and fellow faculty will spend the day trying to cope with the tragedy, as VPR’s Charlotte Albright reports.
(Albright) About 1:30 yesterday afternoon, after less than a day of searching in and around St. Johnsbury, state police found a young adult female body in Barnet.
Major Ed Ledo is not releasing many details about the discovery, but says the victim is believed to be Melissa Jenkins.
She was last seen by a friend around 8:30 on Sunday night, but her car was found near her home with the motor running and her two-year old son, inside, unharmed, around three hours later. She had vanished.
(Ledo) "The Vermont State Police cannot emphasize too much the importance of citizens coming forward with any and all information regarding this investigation. We especially want to hear from anyone who may have traveled along Goss Hollow Road in St Johnsbury on Sunday evening between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. and along the Comerford Dam Road in the town of Barnet during the same time period."
(Albright) During last night’s press conference at St Johnsbury Academy, several of Jenkins’ fellow faculty members were weeping.
Headmaster Tom Lovett says Jenkins was an engaging science teacher who loved helping students master the subject, and that she was also an enthusiastic coach and nurturing dorm proctor.
(Lovett) "Throughout the day I told everyone in chapel the best thing to do is to be hopeful, both for Melissa and her family and for us, and this evening you heard a lot of that hope went out of the room. And so it’s devastating. I’m sure that there are people at home who just heard the news who are as devastated as we are. It’s a very sad, shocking turn of events."
(Albright) Major Ledo, of the State Police Criminal Division, says the body will not be officially identified until the autopsy is done later today.
For VPR News, I’m Charlotte Albright.