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Vermont police believe body found is that of missing school teacher Melissa Jenkins

Vermont police believe body found is that of missing school teacher Melissa Jenkins
Melissa Jenkins CBS/WCAX

(CBS/AP) ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. - Police say the body of missing school teacher Melissa Jenkins was possibly found Monday in Barnet, a town not far from St. Johnsbury.

Pictures: Missing Vt. school teacher Melissa Jenkins

The discovery of the body, believed to be that of the beloved boarding school teacher, sent shudders of grief and anxiety through a small New England town a day after her SUV was found running with her unharmed 2-year-old boy inside.

Vermont State Police Maj. Ed. Ledo would not give details on the condition of the body. A friend who was looking for Jenkins called police Sunday and Jenkins' vehicle was discovered that evening not far from her home in a rural area.

Authorities acknowledged they did not know whether Jenkins' disappearance was isolated. Ledo also said at a news conference that the public should be vigilant as authorities continue to seek a suspect.

An autopsy was planned for Tuesday. A family friend is caring for the 2-year-old. His father, B.J. Robertson, would not comment on Jenkins' disappearance.

Eric Berry, 44, of Lyndonville, a cousin by marriage whose daughter is Jenkins' goddaughter, described her as a beautiful, kind person whom he believes was coming to someone's aid when she disappeared.

"She left her house with the idea, I think, to try to help somebody, and that's as far as I'm going to go with that because I don't want to damage any investigation," he said.

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