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'Things just don't add up': Family hopeful in missing teacher case

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 19:04:48-05

The family of a missing Milwaukee teacher has been holding onto hope she will be found safe after a car she drove was found burned with a body inside.

Kathleen Ryan, a teacher at Saint Augustine Prep, was reported missing Saturday. Her son Sam said when his mom did not show up to a basketball game he and his brother were coaching in Illinois they began to worry.

"She’s just loving," said Sam. "She’s a loving woman. She’s willing to do anything for everyone else before herself."

Kathleen has three sons and a handful of grandkids. Sam said his mom do regular FaceTime calls to see the grandkids and they are a big reason why she visits Illinois. He said she did a FaceTime call Saturday before she was supposed to come to the game.

Sam said not knowing where his mother is has been a nightmare.

"We started retracing my brother and I all the way until midnight, going through rest stops, going through parking lots," said Sam.

Sam filed a missing person report in Milwaukee where his parents live. Authorities said Kathleen was last seen at her home near Saint Francis Saturday afternoon.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday Lake County Sheriff's deputies found a car Kathleen drives burned and near a home in Warren Township near Gurnee, Ill.

Law enforcement found a body inside the car but said it was burned beyond recognition. The Lake County Coroner said they called an anthropologist to help identify the human remains.

Lake County Sheriff's Office said they are investigating all angles and Kathleen is still listed as missing.

"Certainly a difficult investigation," said Sgt. Christopher Covelli with the Lake County Sheriff's Office. "Trace evidence is being looked at and a number of other things but detectives are actively working."

"Where they found the car just doesn’t make sense as far as the path that she would’ve taken to Carmel," said Sam. "And as far as the times, things just don’t add up."

Because of the unusual circumstances, Sam and his family do not believe the human remains found in the car belong to their mother.

"We gotta have hope and faith that it isn’t her," said Sam. "We just believe something like this wouldn’t happen to our mother."

He credited their faith and their support system for getting them through this situation.

Kathleen's family remains hopeful.

"Her birthday was yesterday and her grandbabies have a cake to give to their grandmother,"said Sam. "So we need to find her because we need to celebrate that."