Maryland Police are now searching for a pregnant teacher who failed to show up on the first day of school.
Laura Elizabeth Wallen, 31, contacted family members on Monday, Sept. 4, via text message, but it’s unclear what she wrote.
“It was alarming enough that the family said ‘We need to call police,'” Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti told CBS News. Police didn’t reveal the contents of the text message, but the family said it was “troubling,” NBC Washington reported.
She works at Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, where she teaches law and history.
“She was a favorite amongst the students. She was really nice and this is really sad, what’s happening, you see it’s really taking a toll on people,” student Paris Cooper told CBS.
Her father showed up at her condo in Olney, Maryland, but she wasn’t there, police said.
“You feel so helpless at that point because you don’t know where your child is,” her father, Mark Wallen, told the affiliate.
Jennifer Kadi, her sister, said she was stunned.
“This is like an alternate universe. It just doesn’t seem real,” she told NBC Washington.
Wallen’s family said that she’s four months pregnant, and was overjoyed about giving birth.
“That obviously puts an enormous amount of worry on us because she is out there somewhere and she has a baby, so that’s a really scary thing,” Kadi added.
Meanwhile, Wilde Lake Principal Rick Wilson sent out a letter to the community this week.
“Our staff members are closely monitoring students who may need assistance to process their thoughts and emotions associated with this report,” his letter read. “Let’s keep Ms. Wallen, her family, and the entire Wilde Lake community in our thoughts and prayers during this time.”
“It is a very difficult situation for her family, friends, colleagues, and students to handle — particularly because we still have so little information,” a school spokesperson told the Baltimore Sun. “We continue to hope for a positive outcome to this extremely upsetting situation.”
Police said Wallen is 5-foot-5 and weighs 200 pounds, with blond hair, blue eyes, and she might be driving a 2011 Ford Escape with Maryland license plates that read, “M522473.”
People with information about Wallen’s disappearance are asked to call the Montgomery County Police Department’s non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.