Missing Montana teacher found dead: school officials

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 13, 2012 5:03 PM

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - A Montana high school math teacher whose weekend disappearance triggered wide-ranging searches by authorities who feared she may have been abducted while out for a morning run has been found dead, school district officials said on Friday.

Sherry Arnold, 43, was last seen setting off for a run on Saturday in her hometown of Sidney, a small agricultural community in northeastern Montana. Her husband, Gary Arnold, later reported her missing, police said.

Sidney Public Schools Superintendant Dan Farr said law enforcement authorities had informed family members and district officials of Arnold's death, but declined to elaborate.

Sidney Police Chief Frank DiFonzo and David Johnson, a Utah-based FBI special agent, issued a statement saying there had been a "significant development" in the case, but did not say she had been found dead. DiFonzo did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The statement did say that a man had been taken into custody based on a tip from the public, and that a second man was being questioned by police in connection with Arnold's disappearance.

"The investigation to determine what happened to Ms. Arnold continues," Johnson and DiFonzo said in the statement. Authorities scheduled a press conference for later on Friday.

Arnold, a math teacher at Sidney High School, vanished on Saturday after leaving her home wearing running clothes and mittens. One of her shoes was recovered during an initial search of the area.

A statement on the school district's website said counselors would be on hand following the news.

"She's a well-respected, well-liked teacher," Farr said. "She was the kind of teacher that every parent would want in front of their children. She would go the extra mile to help one of her students."

(Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)