GREENBELT, Md. (NewsNation) — An urgent search is underway for a beloved Maryland school teacher who has been missing for nearly 10 days.
Mariame Toure Sylla, 59, disappeared on July 29 around 8 p.m. She was believed to have been last seen on a walk and hasn’t been heard from since.
Sylla’s friends say her disappearance is just bizarre and out of the ordinary, which Greenbelt Police Chief Richard Bowers said has police concerned.
While police have not categorized her disappearance as anything other than a missing persons case, Bowers said they have not ruled anything out and continue to look at this case with an open mind.
A vibrant and visible part of her neighborhood, Sylla is well-loved by her community, where she has been volunteering and teaching at a French immersion school for over a decade.
Students, parents, friends and other members of the Greenbelt community came together at a vigil over the weekend, hoping and praying they can bring Sylla home safely.
The Greenbelt Police Department (GPD) said the 59-year-old was last seen near her home in Greenbelt, which is about 15 miles northeast of Washington, D.C.
Investigators said Sylla typically went for a daily 30- to 45-minute walk at a nearby park before sunset. Authorities believe she vanished at some point during that walk, but as of now have offered no official theories as to what or who may be behind her disappearance.
Sylla is a Black female approximately 5 feet, 5 inches in height and 135 pounds, according to the GPD. There is no clothing description available.
The investigation has been challenging, Greenbelt police said, but they’re thrilled by the massive outpour of support from the community. The police department has also reached out to surrounding departments for any possible leads.
“We have conducted a number of interviews with her friends and family. We’ve conducted searches of the area, we’ve interviewed other witnesses that frequent that particular area,” Bowers said. “Not returning was very much out of the ordinary. She was a person of habit. And so this was part of her normal habit. And she broke that habit when she didn’t return. That’s really what’s got us concerned.”
Police ask that if anyone comes into contact with Sylla, or if anyone has any information about her disappearance at all, to contact Detective Davis at (240) 542-2134, email@example.com, or the Greenbelt Police Department at (301) 474-7200.