Missing Marin high school teacher found dead 

The dead body of a Terra Linda High School teacher was found Saturday afternoon, possibly in her backyard in Ross, according to police.

Debra Schmitt, 53, was found dead at about 3:30 p.m. this afternoon, possibly in the backyard of her home in Ross, said a police officer who didn't want to be named.

Schmitt was considered missing after she failed to show up to class the morning of Jan. 20 at Terra Linda High School at 320 Nova Albion Way in San Rafael.

The words "thank you everyone" were written on a blackboard in Schmitt's classroom, and Schmitt's keys to the school were found in the classroom, San Rafael police spokeswoman Margo Rohrbacher said.

San Rafael police initially handled the missing person's report because the high school is in San Rafael, but turned the case over to Ross police because Schmitt lives in that town, Rohrbacher said.

Ross police initially searched trails in the Phoenix Lake area because Schmitt liked hiking.

Schmitt may have been in need of prescription medication, Ross police Sgt. Gianfranco Campa said.

Schmitt was married and has a son, and she left her Toyota, purse and identification papers at her home, Campa said.

Police are aware some of Schmitt's relatives in New Jersey have died within the past year and that Schmitt's husband has filed for divorce, but Campa said police don't believe that is why she went missing.

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