Greenbelt

‘Somebody… knows where she is:' Search for missing Maryland teacher grows desperate

Greenbelt police are pleading for the public's help to give them any information about Mariam Toure Sylla, a 2nd grade teacher

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It's been nearly two weeks since anyone saw Mariam Toure Sylla. Police in Greenbelt, Maryland, are urging the public for any information that could help them find the missing 2nd grade teacher.

"I believe that somewhere out there, somebody who has seen her knows where she is and can provide important information as to her whereabouts," Greenbelt Police Chief Richard Bowers said Thursday.

Toure Sylla, 59, who is known at Dora Kennedy French Immersion School as Madame Sylla, was last seen walking in her neighborhood wearing a multicolored dress and a headscarf on Saturday, July 29, police said. Friends believe she was headed to Schrom Hills Park, where she liked to walk. The park is about two minutes from her home. A family member who lives with her reported her missing the next day.

An exhaustive search of the park led to no clues about her disappearance

Bowers said during a news conference Thursday morning that they believe someone knows something about where she is, but they haven't come forward. He said the more time that passes, the greater their concern grows.

Toure Sylla's sister has arrived in the U.S. from Ivory Coast, where both women were born and raised, to assist in search efforts.

Greenbelt police, a small department, is also working with state and federal agencies.

"We have investigated; we're continuing to investigate," Bowers said. "We have other things that we're continuing to work on, but it does take time to go through those avenues to try to pull more information together."

He stressed the importance of getting help from the public to find Toure Sylla, and said anyone with information can call police at 301-474-7200 or email ddavis@greenbeltmd.gov.

Bowers said the department has also searched cell phone and financial records and scoured social media.

Investigators said there's still no evidence of foul play.

"Keep in mind we will go where the evidence leads us," Bowers said. "If we discover information that would indicate that there was foul play in her disappearance, then that would be the direction our investigation goes."

Community members in Greenbelt, Maryland, gathered Friday in the hopes of finding new leads in the search for Mariame Toure, a missing second grade teacher who was last seen Saturday while going for a walk. News4’s Mauricio Casillas reports.

Students and parents went door-to-door in Greenbelt last Friday evening asking if anyone had seen their teacher. A number of people gathered at a vigil for Toure Sylla’s safe return said how loved she is and by how many.

Principal James Spence described staff reaction upon hearing the news she was missing.

“On day one, ran out and started looking,” he said. “In the first hours, we were getting texts that they were going to go out and search these parks.”

Colleagues and parents are concerned. Teachers are due back at the school in Prince George's County on Aug. 21, a week before students return.

"We had lunch together all the time," said fellow teacher John Enoh. "We planned our lessons together. We had lunch outside of the school together. We had just so much in common together. So she was more like a sister to me."

"I know these students are traumatized. I know that their teacher is missing," said another colleague, Cele Cole. "I’m traumatized as her colleague, to know she’s missing."

Police say Toure Sylla's belongings and medication were found in her home. Friends say that, as a devout Muslim, she never misses prayers.

But her friends and colleagues are still hopeful she’ll be found safe.

Police say they are receiving a lot of calls about the case and have gotten tips from as far away as Pennsylvania.

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