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Police Looking for Husband After His Wife's Disappearance

The police said yesterday that they suspected foul play in the disappearance of a 36-year-old woman from Hillside, N.J., who has been missing since Monday, and were looking for her estranged husband in connection with the investigation.

The husband, Gregory Banks Sr., was also last seen Monday afternoon, sitting in a parked car with his wife, Deanna G. Banks, at the Hillside elementary school where Ms. Banks worked, Union County officials said.

Ms. Banks's car was found Tuesday morning with a smashed windshield.

An earring and her broken glasses were discovered nearby.

"We are hoping for the best but fearful of the worst, and the detectives working feverishly on this case do believe she is the victim of foul play," Theodore J. Romankow, the Union County prosecutor, said yesterday.

While Ms. Banks has not been seen or heard from since Monday, Mr. Banks, 46, of Hillside, did place a call on Tuesday morning to the local auto repair garage where he worked to say that he was quitting, said Robert O'Leary, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

Mr. O'Leary added that this call gave the authorities concern that Mr. Banks had decided to flee the area.

Investigators said that the couple, who have been married for a year and a half, were known to have marital problems and did not live together, having recently separated. Mr. Banks has a child from a previous relationship, but the couple do not have children together.

Ms. Banks is a program coordinator at the Hillside School District and was at Calvin Coolidge Elementary School for work on Monday. School officials were alerted to her absence after she missed two work-related meetings by Tuesday.

The Hillside police are working around the clock, hoping to find Ms. Banks, said Detective John Frize of the Hillside Police Department. The department is asking members of the community to contact it if they see Mr. Banks, described as a 5-foot-9, 215-pound black man with a beard, or his 1995 Chevrolet Astro van, which has the New Jersey license plate MED-43F.

He was last seen wearing a brown jacket, bluejeans and a sweater.

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