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Alvin teacher Michelle Reynolds still missing; New Orleans police now involved in case

The 48-year-old Alvin ISD teacher and mother of three was reported missing last week by her husband, who said she had been undergoing treatment for a mental health issue.

Michelle Reynolds Missing
Alvin resident Michelle Reynolds, a 48-year-old schoolteacher and mother of three, was reported missing Sept. 22, and her vehicle was subsequently found in New Orleans. (Photo via Facebook)

Law enforcement agencies in Texas and Louisiana are searching for a Houston-area schoolteacher who had been receiving treatment for a mental health issue before leaving her home last week.

Alvin resident Michelle Reynolds, a 48-year-old mother of three, was reported missing Sept. 22 by her husband, Michael Reynolds, who said he filed the report with the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office.

Reynolds said his wife's vehicle was subsequently found in New Orleans – with personal belongings such as her phone, wallet and debit card inside – and that's where the focus of the search has shifted this week.

Reynolds said his wife has a history of mental illness and had been undergoing outpatient treatment for about three weeks after a recent episode, having been on leave from her job as a teacher during that time. She had been taking nightly medications and might be confused and disoriented, her husband said.

"She's been off of them for almost six days now. That's concerning," Reynolds told Houston Public Media on Wednesday. "I think it's important for people to understand her state of mind. ... She's super smart, super high IQ, very intelligent, but she may not know where she is."

Michelle is 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds with long blonde hair and brown eyes, according to information released by the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office and Texas EquuSearch, a Houston-based nonprofit that assists in searches for missing persons. She might have been wearing black leggings when she left her home early on the afternoon of Sept. 22 – telling her daughter she was going to get something to eat, according to her husband.

Reynolds said he suspects his wife's disappearance is related to her mental illness and does not have reason to think anyone else is involved.

"She was on a Zoom call with her counselors Thursday morning," he said. "For whatever reason, after noon, she left."

The New Orleans Police Department confirmed it is assisting with the search for Reynolds but otherwise deferred comment to the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office, the lead investigating agency. The sheriff's office did not immediately respond to a Wednesday morning inquiry about the search.

Texas EquuSearch founder and director Tim Miller said the Louisiana State Police also is assisting with the search.

“We're all just kind of scratching our heads. We really don't have anything just yet,” Miller said. “I'm optimistic we're going to get there. When? I don't know.”

Using a vehicle-locating app, Reynolds said he and his wife's brother traveled to New Orleans and found her gray, 2018 Lexus NX 300 parked near the intersection of St. Joseph Street and South Peters Street, which is near the Mississippi River, at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business showed the SUV parking there at about noon last Friday, with a woman resembling Michelle then getting out and walking away from the vehicle, her husband said.

It is unclear if the woman who got out of the Lexus was Michelle Reynolds, her husband said, citing a potential height discrepancy. Miller also said it is unclear in the video which direction the woman was walking, so investigators are trying to find additional surveillance footage of the area.

The search team used a low-flying helicopter to scan the Mississippi River on Tuesday and was planning to again search the river on Wednesday while using a boat, Reynolds said. Miller said there is no evidence to suggest Michelle went into the river, but they want to rule out that possibility.

"We don't have any friends or family that have been in New Orleans," Reynolds said, adding that he and his wife visited there for Mardi Gras about 20 years ago. "It's not a place I ever expected her to go, especially by herself."

Michelle has worked for the last eight years as a sixth-grade reading and language arts teacher at Fairview Junior High in Alvin ISD, school district spokesperson Renae Rives said. Rives said she could not confirm or deny whether Reynolds was on leave at the time she went missing.

Reynolds also works for Alvin ISD, teaching science at Harby Junior High. The district said in a statement that it has been assisting the Reynolds family.

"We're just, of course, hoping she's found well," Rives said.

Reynolds said his family is "really struggling" with his wife's disappearance. The couple has three children, an 18-year-old daughter and sons who are 13 and 11.

Reynolds also expressed gratitude for the team of agencies searching for his wife as well as what he called an "outpouring" of support from Alvin-area residents.

"It is difficult for our family as well as the community," he said. "She is an integral part of educating the students in this area. There's a lot of teachers, a lot of students, a lot of families that are very much missing Michelle."

Anyone with information about Michelle Reynolds or her whereabouts is asked to call the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office at 281-331-9000 or Texas EquuSearch at 281-309-9500.

“We've got a lot of questions, and we really don't have the first answer to the first question, let alone the many questions we have,” Miller said. “We're hoping we can get lucky and get the right surveillance camera and hopefully follow the direction. Of course, our goal is to get her back safely and alive to her family. But if something has happened to her, we know the sooner she's found, the better off that is for everybody, too.”

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