Bad weather to affect search for Tenn. woman
Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011 8:01 pm
By SHEILA BURKE
PARSONS (AP) — A sheriff says bad weather moving through western Tennessee will affect the search for a woman who was last seen being dragged away by a man in camouflage.
Speaking today on NBC’s “Today” show, Decatur County Sheriff Roy Wyatt said there are forecasts of hail, wind and possibly tornadoes in the area. He said searchers would wait and see how that will affect efforts to find 20-year-old Holly Bobo.
Wyatt also said authorities don’t have any suspects in the case, which is being investigated as an abduction.
Bobo, a nursing student, has been missing since Wednesday.
Bobo’s father said Thursday that he thinks whoever dragged her away from their rural home knew the family’s daily routine.
Dana Bobo, speaking at a news conference, said he had no idea why someone would want to take his daughter.
“I just have a feeling it might have been somebody close, who knew our routine — when she (his wife Karen) left, when I left, when our daughter left,” he said.
Holly Bobo was last seen being dragged from the carport of her home by a man wearing camouflage at about 8 a.m. Wednesday, as she prepared to leave for her college classes.
Authorities said the 911 center received two calls about the abduction, one from Bobo’s 25-year-old brother, who was home at the time, and the other from Bobo’s mother, who wasn’t. Since then, several law enforcement agencies and hundreds of volunteers have searched the woods and fields surrounding the home.
Both Dana and Karen Bobo begged for help in finding their blonde-haired daughter with the sweet voice who loved to sing.
“Holly, I love you so much,” Karen Bobo, an elementary school teacher, said through sobs. “…She’s just so precious, you don’t even know.”
Even 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.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agent John Mehr said the community is offering a $25,000 reward for information about Bobo’s disappearance.
The hunt widened Thursday and covers rugged terrain with trees and brush so thick that at least one search dog had to be carried by its handler so it could get through, police said. Authorities also were using a helicopter.
Bobo was grabbed from a one-story, ranch-style home, faced in brown brick, in the community of Darden, where the houses are not close together with some on parcels large enough for the owners to keep livestock.
Holly Bobo’s brother, Clint, who saw her being dragged away, is helping with the investigation, said authorities who are looking into the possibility that someone may have checked out her home before the abduction. Police are asking neighbors to report any unusual people or cars.
Holly Bobo is a cousin of country singer Whitney Duncan, who tweeted Thursday morning that “I feel like I’m walking in a nightmare.”
“Thanks for all the prayers and please keep spreading the Amber alert,” she wrote.
Jason Rushing, director of the University of Tennessee at Martin Parsons campus, said Bobo was enrolled in a one-year program to become a licensed practical nurse.
“She was a good student, capable, conscientious with her school work,” he said. “You could tell by the way she interacted with others that she was popular with other students.”
Bobo enrolled in the program last August and would have been in class Wednesday and Thursday.
“We are going on as scheduled, but you can tell this situation is on everyone’s hearts and minds,” Rushing said.
The kidnapping has stunned the community of about 2,500 some 100 miles northeast of Memphis.
“You think bigger towns, bigger populations, is where something like this would happen, not a small town where everybody’s neighbors and family,” said Bryan Lindemann, who has known Bobo since she was 13 years old.
He described her as an “all-American girl” who could sing like a bird.
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.
Since news of the case spread, businesses in Darden have posted flyers with her photo, taken food to the family and held a prayer vigil, said Decatur County Mayor Michael Smith. He said the close-knit community has little crime.
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.
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.
“The whole community is praying for her safety and well-being,” Franks said.
Published in The Messenger 4.15.11