Police organize hundreds of volunteers before a search for Noelle Paquette in Sarnia, Ont. Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2012.
Credits: BARBARA SIMPSON/QMI AGENCY
SARNIA, ON - Police are not saying if a female body found in a woodlot outside of Sarnia, ON is that of 27-year-old Noelle Paquette, who went missing after a New Year's Eve party in the southwestern Ontario city.
Provincial police said the body was found on a rural property around 10:30 a.m. Wednesdsay, but would not confirm the identity.
A criminal investigation unit has been called in to lead the investigation.
Police, firefighters and hundreds of volunteers have been combing the area looking for Paquette, an elementary school teacher, who was last been seen in downtown Sarnia following a party.
Tiffany Branton, whose children attend Paquette's school, said she and her children had been praying for her safe return.
Paquette was covering a maternity leave at a Sarnia Catholic school before Christmas, teaching a kindergarten class.
"The kids really got along with her very well," said Branton, who volunteered in Paquette's classroom. "A lot of the parents wrote into the school board to say what a good job she did."
Others, like Tara Chovancek, didn't know Paquette.
"If it was me, I would want someone looking for me," she said.
Sarnia police Const. Heather Emmons credited both traditional and social media for spreading the word about the search, organized late Tuesday.
"This is a terrific response for a request for volunteers to come out and assist with this case," she said.