Melissa Jenkins, a teacher at the St. Johnsbury Academy in Vermont, went missing two days ago, and now her body has been found. Officials are expected to confirm that the remains are actually those of Jenkins later this afternoon.
Jenkins, 33, was a single mother of a 2-year-old son and was deemed missing after a friend found her SUV, still running, alongside a local road. Her son was still in the car, unharmed, but Jenkins was nowhere to be found. Authorities responded to the call from her friend and discovered there was evidence of foul play.
"Responding troopers observed evidence at the scene to indicate that Ms. Jenkins' disappearance is the result of foul play, as evidence present showed signs that a struggle had occurred," said Detective Sgt. Walter Smith in a press statement.
Police have not said whether they have any suspects in mind, as it is still too early to begin investigating. But family and friends describe Jenkins as one who would be willing to help a stranger.
"She left her house with the idea, I think, to try and help somebody, and that's as far as I'm going to go with that because I don't want to damage any investigation," Eric Berry, Jenkins' cousin-in-law, told CBS reporters.
One question that haunts her friends is why Jenkins would leave her son alone in the SUV. They believe that something, or someone, must have forced her to leave him behind.
"She'd cut her arms off before she'd let anybody touch that boy. I mean, that boy meant everything to her," said friend Marion Cairns.
Jenkins' disappearance comes on the heels of Sherry Arnold's body being discovered after two months of being held captive in Montana. She was declared missing on Jan. 7 of this year, and two men have been charged with aggravated kidnapping. They refused to tell authorities where Arnold's body was, though, but she was finally found on March 22.
The Johnsbury Academy, where Jenkins taught science and was a girls' basketball coach, has brought in counselors to help students cope with her death.
"She's got a real gift with students who either haven't liked science before or learning science doesn't come easy to them. She's got a real gift with them," said headmaster Tom Lovett.
Jenkins' son is currently in the custody of a friend, and his father refuses to speak publicly about Jenkins' disappearance.