Maine Teacher Found Dead After Vanishing From Home Took Her Own Life, Medical Examiner Says

The body of Kristin Westra, 47, was found Friday in a wooded area between Gray and Lufkin roads in North Yarmouth, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said.
Cumberland County Sheriff's Office

A Maine woman whose body was found a week after she disappeared from her home had taken her own life, officials said.

The body of Kristin Westra, 47, was found Friday in a wooded area between Gray and Lufkin roads in North Yarmouth, the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office said. 

The state medical examiner determined Westra’s death to be a suicide, police said. The method was not disclosed.

“The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office extends condolences to Kristin’s family and friends,” they said in a statement.

“My heart was crushed today,” Westra’s husband, Jay Westra, wrote on Facebook Friday. 

Jay Westra last saw his wife on Sunday, Sept. 30. 

The elementary school teacher had returned home from a jog that evening and went to bed, but she reportedly had trouble falling asleep and got out of bed at about 3 a.m., Westra’s brother, Eric Rohrbach, told ABC News

When Jay Westra woke that Monday, he "realized she wasn’t there," Rohrbach said.

She had disappeared without her keys or cellphone. 

Westra had been experiencing anxiety and sleepless nights prior to her disappearance, but had been assessed by a licensed clinical nurse practitioner and was determined to not be at risk of harm to herself or others, her husband said in an interview with NBC News

Though she had been under “some stress” because of her work and recent renovations to her home, Westra’s loved ones said her disappearance was “very abnormal.”

“We love and miss her and just want her to be home with her family,” her brother wrote on Facebook one day before her body was found.

What was meant to be prayer vigil for the safe return of Westra became a memorial service at the Congregational Church in Cumberland Center on Saturday.

“Let this be a sanctuary for you,” senior minister Diane Bennekamper told more than 100 people gathered for the service, the Portland Press Herald reported. “We, too, feel the loss you do."

Westra leaves behind her husband, their 9-year-old daughter and 16-year-old stepson. 

She was remembered by her brother as a “pillar in her community” and by colleagues as invaluable faculty member of the Chebeague Island School, where she taught third, fourth and fifth grades.

“Kristin was a beautiful person and an exceptional educator with a gift for teaching,” Superintendent Michael Pulsifer said in a statement to WGME-TV. “We will all miss her and her caring way of working with the students of Chebeague Island.”

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