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Foul play suspected in Vt. coach’s disappearance

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This undated identification photo provided Monday, March 26, 2012, by the St. Johnsbury, Vt., police shows Melissa Jenkins who went missing the night of Sunday, March 25, 2012. Police said her 2-year-old child was found alone in her car a short distance f

This undated identification photo provided Monday, March 26, 2012, by the St. Johnsbury, Vt., police shows Melissa Jenkins who went missing the night of Sunday, March 25, 2012. Police said her 2-year-old child was found alone in her car a short distance from her home.

St. Johnsbury Police Department, Associated Press

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. — A missing high school teacher and basketball coach whose 2-year-old son was found alone in her SUV with the engine running was probably a victim of foul play, Vermont State Police said Monday.

Melissa Jenkins, 33, of St. Johnsbury, has been missing since Sunday night. A friend who was looking for her called police.

The friend found the SUV, which was running with Jenkins' son inside, not far from her home. Evidence from the scene indicates there was a struggle, police said.

The Vermont Air National Guard is searching for Jenkins by helicopter, and police are using search dogs. Police have blocked off the home. A friend is caring for the boy.

Jenkins is a single parent who teaches science and coaches girls freshman basketball at St. Johnsbury Academy. She is also a part-time waitress at The Creamery Restaurant in Danville.

She graduated from Lyndon State College with a degree in natural science and geology.

Eric Berry, 44, of Lyndonville, said Jenkins is a cousin by marriage and godmother to his daughter. He described her as a kind person who loves her son and said he believes she was coming to someone's aid when she disappeared.

"She left her house with the idea of trying to help someone," he said. He would not elaborate.