Video: Weather may hinder search for missing woman

msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 4/15/2011 4:04:45 PM ET 2011-04-15T20:04:45

The sheriff in Parsons, Tenn., says there are no suspects in the abduction of Holly Bobo, a nursing student who has been missing since she was allegedly dragged from her home Wednesday.

Bobo's older brother told authorities he saw a man wearing camouflage drag her from her home toward the woods. Several law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers have searched the surrounding woods and fields.

Speaking Friday on NBC's TODAY, Decatur County Sheriff Roy Wyatt said, "We have talked to every person that we know... Everybody has been interviewed and talked to and we do not have a suspect at this time."

When asked how Bobo's boyfriend, who reportedly goes turkey hunting in the woods wearing camouflage, fit into the case, Wyatt reiterated that there was currently no suspect.

"Weather's going to play a large part as to how we're going to handle this," he said. "We'll wait and see how [it] plays out. Weather permitting we'll expand our search area today."

Police said they recovered the 20-year-old's white lunch box by a creek nearly eight miles from her home, according to ABC News.

Tearful plea
On Thursday, Bobo's parents tearfully pleaded for help in finding her as police discovered blood on a carport and volunteers searched nearby woods and fields.

"Please help us find her," a shuddering Karen Bobo said of her daughter, a nursing student.

"I just want her back," the elementary school teacher said before nearly collapsing and being led away as reporters tried to ask questions.

"Our daughter was taken from us," added her husband, Dana Bobo, who said he felt the attacker "might have been somebody close, somebody who knew her routine."

Even Sheriff Wyatt choked back tears as he reiterated the plea for help. "This family — we can only imagine what they're going through. They need your help," he said.

The family also announced that the community had raised more than $25,000 as a reward.

WSMV TV earlier reported that Wyatt said investigators found the blood in searching the Bobos' home.

Image: Holly Bobo
AP
Holly Bobo

Bobo's 25-year-old brother, Clint, said he witnessed the assault from inside the home, in a rural area about 100 miles northeast of Memphis, authorities said, but they haven't revealed what he told a 911 operator or provided much other detail. All they have said is that he is helping investigators. Neighbors were asked to report any unusual people or cars in the area at the time.

Officials said two 911 calls were made Wednesday morning, one by the brother and another by a woman police did not identify.

"It's very disturbing to our community, it's very disturbing to us as law enforcement. We are praying for the family and the young lady," WTVF-TV quoted Wyatt as saying. "It's our hopes and our prayers that we find her alive."

Investigators are looking into the possibility that someone may have checked out Bobo's home before the abduction and are asking neighbors to report any unusual people or cars in the area.

Image: Holly Bobo's home
Mark Humphrey  /  AP
Holly Bobo, a nursing student who went missing Wednesday morning, lives at this home in Darden, Tenn.

'Walking in a nightmare'
Since news of the case spread, neighbors and people in nearby communities have poured out to help search, bring food and support. Family members who are holding together reasonably well, Decatur County Mayor Michael Smith said. Some 300 people gathered on Thursday morning to resume the search.

Holly Bobo is a cousin of country music singer Whitney Duncan, who took to Twitter to spread news of the disappearance and make a plea for help in the case.

"Lord have mercy. I feel like I'm walking in a nightmare," she said in a post to her Twitter account.

Bobo is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds. She was last seen Wednesday morning wearing a pink shirt and light blue jeans.

Smith said the community has little crime, so word of this has come as a shock. Parsons has about 2,500 residents.

Image: People talk outside the Corinth Baptist Church following a prayer service for Holly Bobo
Mark Humphrey  /  AP
People talk outside the Corinth Baptist Church following a Wednesday prayer service for Holly Bobo.

Bud Grimes, a spokesman for the University of Tennessee at Martin, said Bobo was studying to be a licensed practical nurse through the Tennessee Technology Center. She was taking classes at the university's extension campus in Parsons, but was not a UT-Martin student.

Courtney Jeffreys, 20, went to school with Bobo since preschool and said she loves animals and always had a lot of different kinds of pets growing up.

"She is just a really sweet girl," Jeffreys said.

Family friend David Ivey, whose son went to high school with Bobo, said the young woman has an "angelic voice" and loved to show it off in talent contests at school. She also would sing solos at Corinth Baptist Church where she was a member, he said.

Bobo's pastor, Don Franks, said he has known her all her life and said she is "a fine young Christian girl." He said the community response has been exceptional.

"They're searching, bringing food and holding prayer vigils," Franks said. "The whole community is praying for her safety and well-being."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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