BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Authorities resumed their search Tuesday for missing Montana teacher Sherry Arnold, who left her home for a pre-dawn run and never returned.
The only clue into her Saturday disappearance that’s been publicly released is a single running shoe, found by a ditch along the 43-year-old woman’s running route in her hometown of Sidney.
The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating the possibility that Arnold was abducted from the small town along the North Dakota border, which has been changing rapidly in recent years due to an oil boom.
After three fruitless days of searching by hundreds of local residents, police, fire fighters and others, the plan for Tuesday was to re-canvass areas around town that already had been searched at least once, officials said.
Snow and rain were expected and temperatures were forecast to plunge into the teens overnight.
Any ground searches after Tuesday would be based on new leads developed by law enforcement, local authorities said.
FBI spokeswoman Deborah Bertrand declined to say whether any other evidence has emerged since the shoe was found Saturday. Bertrand also declined to say if active searching would resume Wednesday.
“It’s too early to determine at this point in the day,” she said.
Arnold, a popular math teacher who grew up on a ranch outside Sidney, was married to another school system employee, Gary Arnold. The couple has five children from prior marriages, including two still living at home and attending the same school where their mom worked for the past 18 years.
The school district has played an active role in the search by lending buses to transport members of search teams and setting up a fund to defer expenses.
Mayor Bret Smelser said the effort had covered all of Sidney and much of the surrounding areas of Richland County.
“We’ve pretty much canvassed everything,” he said. “We have canvassed north of Sidney. We have canvassed south of Sidney. We’ve canvassed to the north. We’ve canvassed to the east. We’ve canvassed to the west.”
The mayor added that the FBI was helping with the investigation “in full force.” He said federal agents had met with family members, including Arnold’s parents, Ron and Sherry Whited, and pledged to press hard for answers.
“The promise they made Ron and Sherry was that they wouldn’t give up until they had found something or found Sherry,” Smelser said.
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