December 24, 2012

Search goes on for boat-building students

The two missing young men are part of a close community at the Landing School in Arundel.

By Beth Quimby
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — Two young men, who are students at the Landing School in Arundel, were still missing Sunday night four days after they disappeared from a home in Kennebunkport.

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Zachary Wells, left, and Prescott Wright have been missing from Kennebunkport since Wednesday.

Courtesy photo

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Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright were last seen at a small gathering of friends last Wednesday night at this house at 5 Mills Road in Kennebunkport, where Wells lives with roommates.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

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Kennebunkport police, who are heading up the investigation, said Sunday night that there have been no new developments in the case.

The mysterious disappearance has shaken faculty and students at the boat-building school and triggered a massive search for the men from the air, on the water and along roadsides and woods.

Zachary Wells, 21, of 5 Mills Road, Kennebunkport, and Prescott Wright, 23, of 32 Port Road in Kennebunk, were last seen at a small gathering of friends at Wells’ house Wednesday night.

Police said the two may have been intoxicated when last seen. So far police have no hard facts to go on, such as when the men left the house or how they left. There were no signs of a disturbance at the house, police said.

Robert DeColfmacker, president of the Landing School, said he was told by roommates that Wells and Wright left their cellphones and wallets at Wells’ home.

“These are two students without a history of disappearing or unexplained absences,” said DeColfmacker.

DeColfmacker said he contacted authorities after receiving a phone call around 9 a.m. Friday from Wells’ roommates expressing concern that Wells and Wright hadn’t been seen for a couple of days.

On Sunday morning a Maine Warden Service airplane buzzed overhead, performing a search above marshes that abut the backyard of Wells’ residence.

The house, which Wells shares with several roommates, is in the heart of the Cape Porpoise village section of town, a few hundred feet from the Cape Porpoise Fire and Rescue Department.

Kennebunkport Police Chief Craig Sanford said he remains baffled by the case.

Police have asked anyone with any information to call police at 967-2454. Sanford said Sunday morning there hadn’t been many calls but that the department is following every lead.

Wells’ family, from Burlington, Vt., and Wright’s family, from Barnstable, Mass., are in Maine awaiting word from police.

Wright’s family declined to comment Sunday, but Wells’ father, Jim Wells, said everyone he has met in Maine has been helpful and supportive.

“I have nothing to add other than to say he (Zachary) is a great kid,” Wells said Sunday night.

DeColfmacker described the young men as enthusiastic, part of the school’s close knit community of about 70 students, eight faculty and scores of alumni.

The 35-year-old school offers post secondary diplomas and associates degrees in modern yacht design, boat building and marine systems technology.

DeColfmacker said the missing men are typical of the kind of students the school attracts, people who like to work with their hands and enjoy physical outdoor pursuits.

“There are a lot of surfboards on their (the student population's) cars, even in winter,” said DeColfmacker.

Wright, a second-year student studying yacht design, is 6 feet 4 inches tall, weighs about 200 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

“He is an experienced sailor, loves the water,” said DeColfmacker.

Wells, in his first year studying marine systems, is 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs about 150 pounds and has black hair and hazel eyes.

“He is a pleasant, pleasant student who works hard,”  DeColfmacker said.

DeColfmacker said the students have always been housed in the local community where they have easily blended in. Even though the school went on break for the holidays on Friday, everyone has been in constant communication trying to figure out where the men could be, he said.

“It is a natural inclination to want to help solve this. Everything that can be done is being done,” he said.

– Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

CORRECTION: This story was updated December, 24 to reflect that Prescott Wright live on Port Road, not Post Road.

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Additional Photos

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Robert DeColfmacker, president of the Landing School in Arundel, talks on Sunday about the disappearance of students Zachary Wells and Prescott Wright. He said Wells is studying marine systems and Wright is studying yacht design at the school.

Jill Brady/Staff Photographer


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