Did Missing Teacher Voluntarily 'Drop Out'?

A missing 23-year-old teacher was spotted in New York, according to her family.

ByABC News
September 9, 2008, 1:36 PM

Sept. 9, 2008 — -- A missing 23-year-old teacher, who has sparked a 10-day search by authorities, friends and family, was seen alive recently in New York, the woman's brother told ABCNews.com.

Dan "Wally" Upp said that his sister Hannah Upp, who went missing Aug. 29, according to police, was recently spotted in midtown New York City. Upp declined to comment on media reports that his sister was spotted checking her e-mail in an Apple store.

"It has been a huge sign of hope and encouragement to her friends and family, and our deepest wish is that she is found as soon as possible," he wrote in an e-mail from Japan, where he is stationed with the Navy. "We still have no idea what brought all this about or what the rest of the story is, and there is no point in speculating right now."

The sighting of Upp in Manhattan raises the possibility that she is not a victim of a crime and has voluntarily dropped out of sight.

"We just want her back safe, and we are waiting to welcome her home with open arms and open hearts with no judgment, no matter what," her brother said.

New York police told ABC News that there were no new updates in the case to report.

Hannah Upp, a second-year Spanish teacher at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem, was last seen Friday afternoon, Aug. 29, in her apartment by a friend, according to police.

A teachers' union and the New York Police Department are offering a reward for help in finding the missing New York teacher whose sudden disappearance has left friends and family baffled.

The United Federation of Teachers is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Upp. New York police are offering their own $2,000 reward.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah and her family during this trying time," UFT president Randi Weingarten said in a statement. "We have reached out to her family, and the NYPD offering to help in any way we can."

The Portland, Ore., native's army of friends launched a massive search following her disappearance.

Upp's distraught mother, Barbara Bellus, has been keeping a vigil in her daughter's apartment.

"She is a bright, beautiful young woman and a dedicated teacher, who has so much to offer the world and an overwhelming desire to contribute to its betterment in any possible way," Bellus said in an e-mailed statement. "We cannot imagine what has taken her away, but we want her back, whatever the circumstances."