D.A.: Criminal probe underway after daycare worker vanishes

Jessica Padgett

CBS Philly

NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - A criminal investigation is underway in the case of a Pennsylvania daycare worker who vanished during her lunch break Friday, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli told 48 Hours' Crimesider Wednesday.

Jessica Padgett, a 33-year-old mother, disappeared Friday afternoon after leaving her workplace, Duck Duck Goose Child Care in Northampton, for her lunch break.

Morganelli says Padgett left to go to her mother and stepfather's house to use their fax machine since the machine at her office wasn't working.

"We believe she did make it to the home," the district attorney says.

What happened afterwards isn't clear. Padgett never returned to work and investigators later found her car in the parking lot of a Dollar General store, not far from her mother's home.

Morganelli says the investigation into Padgett's disappearance, which is being led by the Pennsylvania State Police, is "moving forward very quickly."

He declined to say whether authorities had identified any persons of interest or suspects in the case, instead saying he believes the case is a criminal matter and it will be solved.

"We are hoping to have some answers this week," he says. reports Padgett, of Whitehall Township, has two children and one stepchild. She married her boyfriend of eight years in September.

The 33-year-old is described as being about five feet, four inches tall and weighing about 130 pounds. She has a footprint tattoo on her shoulder, brown hair, hazel eyes and was last seen wearing grey sweatpants and a black sweatshirt that read "Duck Duck Goose" on the front and "Staff" on the back.

Anyone with information on Padgett's whereabouts is asked to contact the Pennsylvania State Police at 610-861-2026.

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