Vigil held for missing McLean man Thomas Duesterhaus

(Photo: Fairfax County Police)

Hundreds crowded a Fairfax County church Tuesday night to pray for a missing teacher's safe return.

Authorities continue to search for the missing McLean man who disappeared about a week ago shortly after learning his teaching contract at Bishop O'Connell school would not be renewed.

Thomas Duesterhaus voluntarily left his Carlin Lane, McLean, home on June 17 and was “distraught,” police said.

Family and friends organized the prayer service at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Vienna on Tuesday starting at 7:30 p.m. A group of former students have set up a Facebook group to share information in their search for Duesterhaus that had over 1,800 members as of Tuesday evening.

The 37-year-old English teacher and youth minister had just found out his teaching contract at Bishop O'Connell wasn't renewed. The family says they learned it wasn't a criminal matter but don't know much else.

"I would love to talk to him to about it," said Father Jack Peterson. Peterson has known Duesterhaus for 14 years. He runs the youth apostles community in McLean where Duesterhaus lives with 18 other consecrated youth apostles.

"We just want him to come home,” Peterson said.

After learning his contract would not be renewed, Duesterhaus went to Virginia Beach on a religious mission. An eyewitness told police she saw him swim into the ocean. Police found his travel bag on the beach 12 hours later. That was more than a week ago.

“We are reaching out to the community to pray for the safety of my brother Tom,” Greg Duesterhaus told ABC7’s Jennifer Donelan in an email message. “If he sees this broadcast or any other appeal for his return we hope that he would make contact with someone in his family or group of friends to let us know he is alright.”

{}{}{} {}{}{} Missing Thomas Duesterhaus

Duesterhaus is described as a white male, 37 years old, 6 feet 3 inches, 190 pounds, blonde hair, green eyes. He may be in the Virginia Beach area, police said.

Duesterhaus has been known to frequent parks and shelters and may be driving his 1999 blue Buick LeSabre. The car’s Virginia registration reads XMT-8126.

Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Detective Chris Flanagan at 703-246-7860 or the Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-TIPS.


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