Residents express relief at news that teacher's body may have been found

2012-03-21T19:15:00Z 2014-05-20T15:38:15Z Residents express relief at news that teacher's body may have been foundBy ED KEMMICK The Billings Gazette

SIDNEY — Residents of Sidney expressed sadness and relief at the news that Sherry Arnold’s body had probably been found.

At Trinity Lutheran Church, where she worshipped, the Rev. David Warner said some family members and parishioners had come by to talk about the news.

“We’ve been praying for this day,” Warner said. “I’m glad we found the body, but now we’re back in it.”

Warner was preparing for a Lenten worship session.

“This will be a bit of a difficult service,” he said.

Warner began the service with a few announcements, then said: “I believe that most of you have heard, they believe the body of Sherry was found today,” Warner said.

He asked members of the church to remember the Arnold family in their prayers.

At Sidney High School, where Arnold taught math, Superintendent Dan Farr said there were unofficial reports Wednesday morning that Arnold’s body may have been found.

After the FBI released its statement in the afternoon, Farr said, he conferred with principals and an internal communication was sent to the staff but no announcement to students was made.

“The official announcement came so late in the day that we held off and just notified staff,” Farr said.

Asked about the schools’ plans for the rest of the week, Farr said, “We’re going to wait until we have absolute confirmation and just work with the family on whatever their desires are.”

The news was indeed sad, Farr said, but “hopefully it provides the comforting relief our community needs.”

Sidney Mayor Bret Smelser said that if authorities confirm it’s Arnold’s body, it would provide “the closure that we needed” after the search for Arnold dragged on since her Jan. 7 disappearance. Hundreds of volunteers combed the city and surrounding areas when Arnold first went missing.

“It’s been tough for the family and the community,” Smelser said. “Hopefully the family will have some final closure and be able to put the body to rest.”

Associated Press reporter Matthew Brown

contributed to this story.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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