A teacher who went missing for three weeks in New York City in 2008 is now missing in the Caribbean. Hannah Upp, who had been living and teaching on the Virgin Islands, was last seen on September 14th, but then Hurricane Maria struck.
Upp told friends she was going to go swimming that morning, but later her car, cellphone, wallet and passport, plus sarong and sandals, were found by the beach. "Last night we had six hours of heavy, heavy rain and winds, so I’m worried that she was hiding out somewhere that wasn’t safe,” Maggie Guzman told Newsweek on September 20th. “There’s a lot of things to worry about. But my hope is that she found somewhere safe to hide."
In 2008, Upp's roommates reported her missing when she went running and didn't return for days, leaving her keys, phone, wallet and ID behind. After 19 days, including sightings at an Apple store, she was found floating facedown in the New York Harbor by a Staten Island ferry captain.
The ferry crew rescued her, unconscious, from the water. She was wearing the same clothes that she went running in—"a black sports bra and red shorts," according to the Daily News. Upp revealed that she suffered from dissociative fugue disorder, "As is typical of a case of dissociative fugue, I was not aware of my own identity and I emerged from the episode with essentially no memory of what happened during the time I was missing," she said at the time, and later went to a ceremony honoring the ferry crew members who saved her.
Upp then moved to Philadelphia and later Maryland, where she suffered another dissociative fugue disappearance in 2013, before heading to the Virgin Islands, where she teaches at the Virgin Islands Montessori School. The head of the school told the NY Times, "Whenever we do a tour for a new family, the first classroom we visit is Hannah Upp’s. She’s one heck of an example; she’s not just a Montessori teacher, she’s a passionate Montessori teacher."
Her friends and colleagues have been searching for her all over the island and hope she's safe, just hiding somewhere after the devastating hurricane. Newsweek reports that "stressful situations can trigger the symptoms of dissociative amnesia, which include 'difficulty remembering important information about one’s self,' and can last from minutes to years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness."
A Facebook group, Find Hannah Upp, has been formed as well:
Upp's family released a statement to the Times, "Our beloved Hannah has disappeared. We do not know what has happened and we are hopeful that she will be found alive and well. Our thoughts and prayers are with Hannah and all those who continue to search tirelessly for her. We know our fear and uncertainty is shared by many others, and our hearts go out to all who wait."