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  1. Life & Culture

Heather Van Nest off the air at WTSP in Tampa

ST. PETERSBURG — Heather Van Nest has left as an evening news anchor at CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10.

Van Nest posted a Facebook message Wednesday afternoon thanking her viewers.

"I am excited for new work opportunities that allow for more flexibility in my family life,'' she wrote. "Working until midnight with a 1-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter and husband at home is not ideal.''

Van Nest had been missing on air for several days, fueling speculation that her contract with the station hadn't been renewed.

Messages left with the station's general manager, Elliott Wiser, weren't returned. Co-anchor Reginald Roundtree said he couldn't comment. On Wednesday, Van Nest's photo was removed from WTSP's website.

Van Nest has been in television news for 20 years, working as a producer, editor, investigative reporter, online content writer and news anchor. She came to WTSP as morning and noon anchor in 2002 and joined Roundtree on the station's evening and late-night newscasts in 2004.

Van Nest's departure comes as other local stations prepare to lose longtime evening anchors. John Wilson announced this year that he would retire from WTVT-Ch. 13 in November. WFLA-Ch. 8 news anchor Gayle Sierens is leaving next year.