Volunteers gather to search for Holly Bobo. Sunday, April 17, 2011
Sunday was day five in the search for Holly Bobo, 20.
PARSONS, Tenn.- Sunday, investigators may have a better sense of who is behind the disappearance of a missing college student from Decatur County.
Sunday was the Sabbath, but certainly no day of rest for the Bobo family or the volunteer searchers at the fair- grounds. Sunday was day five in the search, and this day saw the biggest turnout of volunteers in the ongoing search for a missing college co-ed: 1,432. Investigators are still calling their effort a rescue instead of a recovery. They say they have no evidence to believe the contrary at this point in the investigation.
"This is my sister, and like – Holly has a brother, too," explained Josh Ferrell, a volunteer searcher in from Hardin County. "And if it was my sister, that was out there…"
Ferrell and his sister, Holly, both showed up Saturday and Sunday to search the dense, Decatur County woods where Holly Bobo, 20, is believed to have been taken against her will. Bob vanished around 8:00 a.m. Wednesday as she left the house for nursing school. Family members have said she had an examination that morning, and would not have missed in on her own accord.
But try as they might to do something, some volunteer searchers are finding this thick, rugged Tennessee terrain tough to navigate on foot.
"I'm a country girl," said Holly Ferrell. "I love the woods, but – I mean, it was thick, there was hills, we probably crossed four or five deep creeks."
The Bobo family did attend church at the Corinth Baptist Church in Decatur County. There they prayed for Holly's safe return and sang songs.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the case. Spokeswoman Kristin Helm confirmed over the weekend that blood, found at the crime scene, is still being DNA tested in Memphis to see whether it's that of Holly's.
While the TBI is grateful for the tremendous turn-out of volunteers, the agency is asking people to shift their focus and try to think of anyone who may have exhibited strange or erratic behavior.
"If somebody suddenly called in sick to work or missed an appointment Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, that's important information we would want to know. If someone has suddenly begun cleaning up an ATV or a car, or reported a car stolen, or turned around a sold a vehicle, that's information we would want to know," Kristen Helm with the TBI explained. "If somebody is feeling very anxious, or acting suspicious, behaving abnormally, feeling a lot of anxiety. These are all things that would lead us to believe this person could be a suspect, maybe, maybe not."
Helm said investigators are also beginning to draft the profile of the man behind this suspected crime; that mystery man who, according to Holly Bobo's brother, the only eyewitness, took his sister by the hand into the dense woods Wednesday morning.
"We have reason to believe that the suspect is probably from this community," Helm told NewsChannel 5 on Sunday. "So, this is possibly somebody who knew her routine, knew what time she left for school."
Authorities continue to suspect foul play in the nursing student's disappearance. The community is offering a $25,000 reward.
Anyone with information regarding this case should call 1-800-TBI-FIND.