December 25, 2012

Search for missing Maine students halted on Christmas

Officials say it's possible that the two young men missing since last week were kayaking or boating.

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

The search for two young men who have been missing since last week turned up clothing Monday on one of several small islands off Cape Porpoise, a small fishing and tourist village.

click image to enlarge

Searchers along with a search dog walk make their way out to Trott Island off Cape Porpoise Monday, December 24, 2012. Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright, have been missing from Kennebunkport since Wednesday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Zachary Wells, left, and Prescott Wright have been missing from Kennebunkport since Wednesday.

Courtesy photo

Additional Photos Below

Search crews spent much of Monday focusing on Trott Island and nearby ledges. On Tuesday morning, police said they had no new developments and no search was currently being conducted on Christmas.

Zachary Wells, 21, and Prescott Wright, 23, were last seen at a gathering late Wednesday at Wells' house on Mills Road in Kennebunkport, near the Cape Porpoise pier. Both are students at the Landing School in Arundel.

Their disappearance has shaken the faculty and students at the boat-building school and triggered a major search from the air and water, along roadsides and in woods.

Police said the men may have been intoxicated when they were last seen. There were no signs of a disturbance at the house, police said.

A Landing School official said he was told that Wells' and Wright's cellphones and wallets were found at the house.

Maine Marine Patrol units found clothing early Monday on a rock on one of the small islands off Cape Porpoise. Officials said it's possible that the men were kayaking or boating.

"One of the clothing items was marked in such a way as to indicate ownership to one of the missing men," said Kennebunkport Police Chief Craig Sanford.

He did not provide details about the clothing or say whether it was found on Trott Island or one of the smaller nearby islands, some of which are connected by sandbars or mud flats at low tide.

The Marine Patrol, the Maine Warden Service and the Kennebunkport Police Department spent much of Monday searching Trott Island, a heavily wooded island near Goat Island Lighthouse. They had already searched Goat Island.

Both islands are easily visible from the Cape Porpoise pier.

"There is some indication they were boating," said Maine Warden Service Sgt. Tim Spahr.

Spahr, who used a kayak to search sandbars and ledges just offshore, said he did not know whether the two men may have been in kayaks or a larger boat.

A search plane circled Trott Island for much of Monday afternoon. Game wardens and Marine Patrol searchers walked search dogs over mud flats from Cape Porpoise to Trott Island at low tide.

Sanford said the men's families were briefed on the discovery of clothing. Wells' family, from Burlington, Vt., and Wright's family, from Barnstable, Mass., are in Maine awaiting developments.

"The members of our agency have the families in our thoughts," Sanford said. "We will continue our investigation until we have some concrete findings."

Jim Wells, Zachary Wells' father, declined comment when reached by phone Monday. Wright's family did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Wells, in his first year studying marine systems, is 5-foot-8, has black hair and hazel eyes, and weighs about 150 pounds. He lives at 5 Mills Road, in the heart of the Cape Propoise village and a few hundred feet from the Cape Porpoise Fire and Rescue Department.

Wright, a second-year student studying yacht design, is 6-foot-4, has brown hair and blue eyes, and weighs about 200 pounds. He lives on Port Road in Kennebunk.

Both men missed classes Thursday and Friday. A school official contacted police Friday, after a roommate said he was concerned that he hadn't seen the two men for a couple of days.

Robert DeColfmacker, president of the Landing School, has described the missing men as enthusiastic students. He said Wright is an experienced sailor who loves the water and Wells is a pleasant student who works hard.

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:

ggraham@pressherald.com

Twitter: grahamgillian

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Maine Warden Service Sgt. Tim Spahr searches Monday near Goat Island Lighthouse off Cape Porpoise for Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright, who've been missing from Kennebunkport since Wednesday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette: Members of the Maine Marine Patrol and Maine Game Warden Services talk in Cape Porpoise Monday, December 24, 2012. Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright, have been missing from Kennebunkport since Wednesday.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Maine Warden Service Sgt. Tim Spahr drags a kayak onto shore Monday at Cape Porpoise where the search for Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright continues.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Staff Photographer



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