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Nearly 1,000 people showed up on Sunday to search for a missing Sidney High School teacher who did not return home from a Saturday morning run.

Sherry Arnold, 43, was last seen at 6:30 a.m. when she left home to go for a jog. When she didn’t return, a massive search party of more than 200 people organized, finding only a shoe authorities believe she was wearing on one of her usual jogging routes northeast of town.

That area includes what is known as the truck route — Ninth Avenues south, east and northeast — in Sidney, and bike and walking paths in town.

Sidney Assistant Police Chief Bob Burnison said about 1,000 people came to help search for Arnold, including current and former students of the high school math teacher.

“It’s really hard on our community,” Burnison said, adding they just recently lost Jody Ray Verhasselt, a 46-year-old firefighter in an avalanche north of Cooke City on New Year’s Eve.

Of the thousand that showed up, only around 300 to 400 were able to be used in the search. Burnison said any beyond that would have been too many to control. They added to the countless law enforcement personnel from neighboring counties, as well as North Dakota, and members of the Montana National Guard.

Groups searched from the air in a helicopter and planes as well as on the ground with three K-9 units. Citizen search parties fanned out across the city, searching in alleys and knocking on doors asking if anyone had seen Arnold.

The citizen search teams were asked to go home by 5 p.m. because of darkness, though law enforcement teams would continue through the night.

The plan is to start searching a new area on Monday.

“We’re going to be figuring up the grid pattern we designed for today,” Burnison said. “We are going to make the grid further out and search different avenues tomorrow.”

Arnold is 5 feet, 10 inches tall, weighs 140 pounds and has a slender build with dark hair and brown eyes. She also has scarring on her left leg from cancer treatment.

She was last seen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with white stripes, red nylon pants and black leggings.



Managing editor at The Billings Gazette.