Three weeks ago, a married 52-year-old nursery school teacher vanished without a trace and police in Northern California are now searching for a mystery man seen eating dinner with her the night she disappeared.
Nancy MacDuckston left her Belmont, Calif., home the morning of Aug. 11, and left a note with the nursery school where she worked as director. She wrote that she would be taking a trip to the seaside town of Davenport.
MacDuckston, a mother of two adult children in their 20s, was seen shopping and mailing out postcards from Davenport that day. On Aug. 12, her husband, Bruce MacDuckston, reported her missing.
Police say the best lead they have is from witnesses who saw her eating dinner with a mystery man the night she disappeared. Sgt. Dan DeSmidt, a spokesman for the Belmont California Police Department said they have not ruled out the idea that MacDuckston may have been romantically involved with the man.
"We don't know what the man's relationship is to the missing woman. And we very much want to talk to him," DeSmidt said. "He's our best lead right now."
But police still don't know whether they are investigating a case of abduction, a voluntary disappearance or a suicide.
"There is no shortage of theories in this case, and that's why we want to talk to the man in the sketch so much," DeSmidt said. "We really haven't been able to rule anything out, which makes it so difficult for the investigators."
Mystery Dinner Companion
The unidentified man was described to be a Polynesian or Asian man of about 50, who stands about 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs approximately 150 pounds and has salt-and-pepper hair. He and MacDuckston appeared to share a pleasant dinner, witnesses say.
The next day, police found her tan minivan, which still contained her wallet, a few miles north of Davenport. Police also found the missing teacher's chair, book, sun hat and other belongings on a nearby bluff. The area is a well-known place for suicides, according to police.
Bruce MacDuckston said he has heard about the suicide speculation, but his wife has been to the secluded area numerous times, and simply loved the peace and quiet
"Nancy was the type of person who liked to go for rides on her own, and this was a beautiful, very serene spot down the coast, where you could get away from the traffic," he said. "You can't even see it from the road. And you can sit there and listen to the waves and see the sky and the birds and read a good book. In fact, she'd pointed it out to our daughter just a few weeks ago."
She has a 1-year-old granddaughter, and though their marriage wasn't perfect, she was in a good mental state, he said.
"I can't imagine she would hurt herself," Bruce MacDuckston said.
His goal is to stay focused on the search, he said.
"At this point, to keep my sanity, we're just trying to focus on finding Nancy, finding this man, asking him any questions that we can," he said.
Many of the volunteers searching for his wife are former students and their parents.
Anyone with information on the Nancy MacDuckston case should contact the Belmont Police Department at 650-595-7400.
Meanwhile, the search is still on for Heather Carpenter, a 22-year-old Northern California woman who disappeared after a party in Redding, Calif., Aug. 4.
To provide information on the Heather Carpenter case, go to www.heathercarpenter.com.