Holly Bobo Reward Tripled by Tennessee Governor to $75,000

Cops believe the student's kidnapper lives in the area.

April 18, 2011, 7:39 AM

PARSONS, Tenn. April 18, 2011 — -- The governor of Tennessee today tripled the reward to $75,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever abducted missing Tennessee woman Holly Bobo, who was snatched from her home and led into the woods by a shadowy stranger five days ago.

Gov. Bill Haslam approved a $50,000 reward from the state, in addition to a $25,000 reward already offered by Bobo's community.

Investigators believe Bobo's abductor lives in or near the 20-year-old college student's town of Parsons, Tenn., and have asked her neighbors to report any unusual activity or a break in peoples' routine those noticed in recent days.

"The person responsible for Holly's disappearance lives in the area," said Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. "Because of the terrain, you have to know where you're going, entrances and exits. We feel the person is in the community. We're asking the community if you know someone who has changed their routine, please let us know."

Gwyn said signs of suspicious activity include calling in sick to work over the past week, excessively cleaning a car or all-terrain vehicle, or unexpectedly selling a vehicle.

He said there is no person of interest in the case, but said police are following more than 250 leads.

Police have collected several pieces of evidence in the woods near Bobo's home, but Gwyn said it could be days before those objects could be analyzed and positively linked to Bobo.

In the meantime, the only evidence police have found and made public were Bobo's lunch purse and some blood.

Gwyn said it is possible Bobo's abductor led the woman to a vehicle left on a road, accessible through the woods, and drove away.

He said investigators still believe Bobo is in the state, but the FBI would get involved if there was evidence to suggest otherwise.

The search for Bobo entered a fifth day Monday, with police interviewing neighbors, boats searching local waterways and volunteers extending their search of the Natchez Trace, a national hiking trail.

Among those helping to search for Holly is her cousin, Whitney Duncan, a country music singer who today made a tearful plea today for the nursing student's safe return.

"We just want her back. If anybody knows anything... any details, anything weird that they've seen that might possibly lead to finding her, I hope they come forward with that," Duncan said on "Good Morning America."

Duncan said that she and her family members have been unable to sleep since last Wednesday when Bobo's 25-year-old brother saw a man dressed in camouflage lead Bobo into the woods. Bobo's brother wasn't alarmed until he spotted blood in the driveway.

Holly Bobo's Abductor Familiar With Rural Area Where She Disappeared

"The family right now is trying to be strong... it doesn't seem real. That's the last phone call we ever expect to get... It's a close family, so we're just trying to hold it together," Duncan said.

Duncan described her missing cousin as a homebody and said that she and Bobo are as close as sisters.

"Holly is, she is beautiful, she is sweet, she is a good Christian girl...kind of shy, quiet until you get to know her. She is funny and sweet and amazing," Duncan said through tears.

Prayer and the tight knit community of Parsons are the only things getting the family through this tough time, Duncan said.

"This community has been amazing. It makes us feel great that people out there care... Trying to find her and bring her home," Duncan said.

More than a thousand people have volunteered to help search the dense woods for any sign of Bobo.

Investigators have not ruled anyone out as a suspect in Bobo's disappearance and are in the midst of analyzing key evidence, although police had earlier said that Bobo's brother and boyfriend are not suspects.

"We have over 250 leads that we're running...the next analysis of a piece of evidence could be a key in solving this particular incident," Gwyn said. "I can tell you that we have not eliminated anyone from this case."

Some of that key evidence includes the 20-year-old nursing student's lunch box found miles from her home. The other evidence being analyzed was found in the woman's driveway and includes blood on the ground and duct tape with blond hair stuck to it.

"We're analyzing that evidence at the TBI [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] crime lab as I speak and we're hoping...that we will come to conclusion pretty rapidly," Gwyn said.