By Courtney Sherwood
NEWBERG Ore. (Reuters) – Police in Oregon were searching on Monday for a stay-at-home mother of two young children who seemingly vanished from her small community while running household errands last week, as her family said they feared the worst.
Jennifer Janelle Huston, a 38-year-old mother of a 6-year-old boy and a toddler, told her husband she was going out to run errands on Thursday evening in the community of Dundee, on the outskirts of Portland, Newberg-Dundee Police Captain Jeff Kosmicki said.
Over the next half hour, video surveillance captured her withdrawing a small amount of money from a nearby credit union, then stopping at a gas station, Kosmicki said. She appeared to be alone in the family’s Lexus SUV.
Later that evening, either her cellphone was shut off or its battery died, and family members say she has not used her credit cards or phone since Thursday, although police are still awaiting subpoenaed records to confirm her activities.
Flanked by his missing wife’s parents and other family members at a Monday news conference, Kallen Huston asked community members to watch for signs of her SUV, or for breaks in greenery where a vehicle may have run off the road.
“We were about to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary, and we have been together for 17 years. This is unlike anything she’s ever done,” Huston said.
“I have a fear that she’s in a ditch somewhere,” he said.
Police said on Monday they have no immediate reason to suspect foul play in the disappearance although they were not ruling it out.
Huston experienced unusual, but not debilitating, headaches for three days before she disappeared, and otherwise nothing was out of the ordinary, her husband said.
The department has assigned five detectives, including experts in computer forensics, to the search for Huston.
Community volunteers have organized informal searches, including one by a private airplane, to track her down, posting signs of the woman and her SUV in store and restaurant windows, with a plea for anyone with information to call police.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Mohammad Zargham)
[Police lights via Shutterstock]