ROSS (CBS/BCN) – The Ross Police Department is investigating the disappearance of a Terra Linda High School teacher last week.

San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said Wednesday morning that the school’s assistant principal Justin Mori informed San Rafael police at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday that 53-year-old Debra Schmitt, of Ross, failed to show up for class that day.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

The words “Thank you everyone” were written on a blackboard in Schmitt’s classroom, and Schmitt’s keys to the school were found in the classroom, Rohrbacher said.

San Rafael police initially handled the missing person’s report because the high school is in San Rafael, but turned the case over to Ross police because Schmitt lives in that town, Rohrbacher said.

Someone spoke with Schmitt in Ross the previous day, on Jan. 19, Rohrbacher said.

Ross police Sgt. Gianfranco Campa said police are searching trails in the Phoenix Lake area with dogs Wednesday for Schmitt, who enjoys hiking.

Schmitt may be in need of prescription medication, Campa said.  Police do not suspect foul play and do not believe Schmitt is suicidal, Campa said.

Schmitt is married and has a son, and she left her Toyota, purse and identification papers at her home, Campa said.

Campa said no cab drivers in the area reported picking up Schmitt.

Schmitt is Caucasian, 5 feet 7 inches tall, 120 pounds and has hazel eyes and brown hair, police said.

Several people have posted messages on the Debra Schmitt Fan Club page on Facebook since Monday expressing concern about her welfare and asking the popular English teacher to return.

One person who called Schmitt “Aunt Debbie” asked her to come to New Jersey “where you have family who will always love you no matter what.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

Comments (6)
  1. grgegeg says:

    come on ms. schmitt…. really?

  2. concered citizen says:

    so..the facts: 1.) she’s a popular 53yr old English teacher(apparently loved teaching)
    2.) she failed to shw up at class on 1/20/11. 3)someone spoke to her the previous day 1/19. 3) she enjoys hiking(???) 4.) Married and has a son. 5) she LEFT her PURSE & IDENTIFICATION papers, AND her CAR at HOME. 6.) NO cabs picked up anyone in her living area. ***and the POLICE DON’T suspect FOUL PLAY. and they also DON’T believe its SUICIDE. ***ok..what’s wrong w this picture?!!!*** NO FOUL PLAY?? please…she leaves her CAR , PURSE AND ALL IDENTIFICATION PAPERS at HOME?!! and DOESNT SHW UP at school where she loves to teach.
    just the PART ABOUT HER BEING “MISSING” and HER “CAR” AND PURSE AND I.D. ARE ALL AT HER HOME!!! plz she’s apparently consider a RATIONAL, POPULAR TEACHER, and she LEAVES HER “PURSE”, CAR and I.D. at HOME!!!??? AND SHE just DOESNT SHW UP AT WORK for NO REASON??? I dont think u need to be a rocket scientist to suspect some kind of foul play!!! WHAT she just DECIDED to WALK away from her home WITHOUT her PURSE and ID..and just DECIDED not to show up at her workplace! what she just walked off the face of the earth! WHAT IS WRONG W THIS POLICE DEPT!! NO FOUL PLAY BUT ALSO NO SUICIDE?!!!! SO SHE JUST WALKED AWAY??!!!

    1. coco says:

      The police are always quiet in the beginning while they interview suspects.
      No good mother/teacher leaves their child. It sounds like a suicide from the news reports, but can we believe the news anymore?

  3. TLStudent says:

    Dear Concerned Citizen –

    Appreciate the rant, but stop blaming the police. It clearly states that she wrote “Thank you everyone” on the board – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that she planned this out.

    And yes, she did just walk away.

  4. JUST SAYING says:

    how do we know for sure that she wrote the note? it is an expensive proposition to get divorced in Ross. They need to look more at the husband

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