An automobile associated with former Bishop O'Connell High School teacher Tom Duesterhaus, who has been missing for six weeks, was found Thursday in a commercial parking garage near the Rosslyn Metro station, Duesterhaus' family reported.
The car had been parked in the garage since June 17, the day he disappeared, according to his father, Rich.
"Finding the car does not seem to have helped us at all with where Tom went or is at this time," Rich Duesterhaus stated in an email to Patch. "Since we already were 99% sure he was in VA Beach on (June) 18th the location of the car since the 17th doesn't shed much light other than he chose not to take the Youth Apostle Institute car."
Duesterhaus is a consecrated lay member of the McLean-based Youth Apostles Institute, a Catholic organization. He lived in a communal home in McLean with other Youth Apostles.
It wasn't immediately clear Sunday whether the car found last week belonged to Duesterhaus or the Youth Apostles.
Duesterhaus turned 38 on Sunday.
He began teaching English at Bishop O'Connell in 1999.
In June, shortly after school officials decided not to renew his contract, he disappeared. He was spotted three times in Virginia Beach in the two days that followed.
In his email, Rich Duesterhaus said the family had a reunion last weekend that had been planned since January.
"Tom's siblings had hoped that he might return for that but of course that did not happen," he stated.
Lucy Balsten, who is Duesterhaus' sister, said attendants at the parking garage finally noticed the car and called police. A security camera tape later showed Duesterhaus parking the car and walking away, she said.
Since his disappearance, his family, friends and former students have wrestled with a situation They've held prayer services and all begging Duesterhaus for a call or text letting them know he's OK — or better yet, to come home.
Duesterhaus' cell phone and credit cards have not been used since he disappeared. Duesterhaus did much of his community service work with homeless youth, family and friends say, and it's possible he is seeking refuge in one of those shelters or simply looking for some time alone.
Balsten said the discovery of Duesterhaus' car means he likely hitchhiked or used cash to take a bus to Virginia Beach.