msnbc.com staff and news service reports
PARSONS, Tenn. — Searchers in western Tennessee continued looking Thursday for a nursing student who was last seen being dragged from her house by a man wearing camouflage.
Some 300 people gathered in Parsons on Thursday morning to resume the search for Holly Bobo, 20, after volunteers searched the rural area around her home Wednesday.
Bobo’s 25-year-old brother told investigators he saw a man dragging her across the carport at her family home and toward a wooded area, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
Bobo’s brother was inside the house and the kidnapping was outside in the rural area of small, modest homes about 100 miles northeast of Memphis, the TBI said. A spokeswoman would not give more details on what the brother told them.
“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 Decatur County Sheriff Roy 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.
‘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.
Additionally, country music singer Whitney Duncan took to Twitter to spread news of the disappearance and make a plea for help in the case, saying Bobo is her cousin.
“Lord have mercy. I feel like I’m walking in a nightmare,”she said in a post to her Twitter account.
Authorities used dogs and a helicopter in the search Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, volunteers had set out on horseback, four-wheelers and on foot to search for Bobo, WTVF reported.
“It’s the least we can do, and if we were in the same situation, I would hope and pray that everybody would come out for us also,” volunteer Mary Cruse told the station. “These are friends of ours and even if we didn’t know them, we’d still do it.”
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.
‘The whole community is praying’
Smith said the close-knit community has little crime, so word of this has come as a shock. Parsons has about 2,500 residents.
Mark Humphrey / AP
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.
Bobo’s mother is an elementary school teacher and her father works for a tree service company.
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.