MILFORD — It's been a difficult week for the family of Lorinda White, the 52-year-old woman who was reported missing on Sunday, and the discovery of a body behind Jacques Memorial School on Friday did little to ease their worries.
It's too early in the investigation to say whether the body found behind the elementary school and reported to Milford police on Friday morning is White. Until an autopsy can be completed by the state medical examiner, there can be no positive identification made, said Capt. Chris Nervik.
Last week, White began acting strangely, her family said. Though she has no history of mental illness, on Saturday, while she and her boyfriend William Pillsbury were preparing to head to a cookout at a friend's house, she got in his pickup truck and drove away. Several hours later, Pillsbury learned that White had ended up at a bed and breakfast in Kittery, Maine — a place they had stayed before — and seemed confused. The owner of the bed and breakfast called Pillsbury after White left and told him of the visit. White returned home at 2 a.m. on Sunday, disappeared briefly in the morning, Pillsbury said, came home, and then later walked away from the house without her shoes, cell phone or other possessions.
Since Sunday, a growing group of friends, family, police and volunteers have been searching for White, and as of Friday morning Pillsbury was still hopeful that they would find her. Search dogs brought in by volunteers had picked up her scent, he said, and folks were getting ready to go back out to look for her.
“We just want to find her and make sure she's safe,” said Pillsbury. “We know Lorinda is still alive. We're sure of it. We just have to find her.”
But on Friday afternoon, Pillsbury and the family were informed that a body had been found. Though police couldn't positively identify the body, they wanted to ensure that the family wasn't caught off guard by the news.
Pillsbury ended up in the hospital on Friday after receiving word about the body, said a woman who answered his cell phone.
“I think he had a breakdown,” the woman said. “It's all just too much.”
The woman said police had been clear that no identification of the body had been made, but after almost a week of sleepless nights and day-long searches, the news that a body had been found was devastating to hear.
Nervik said he couldn't say whether the body was male or female, and until the autopsy is completed, it's uncertain whether there were any suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
“At this point we're just investigating it as an untimely death,” said Nervik. “It could be a few days before we know more.”