A heartbroken mother searches for her daughter, Natalee Holloway, 18 years old, just graduated from high school and getting ready to head to the University of Alabama on a scholarship.
Natalee was last seen Sunday night in Aruba leaving a nightclub. And we first told you about Natalee last night. And she just had graduated from a high school in Birmingham and went on a trip with 125 of her friends. She never showed up for her return flight on Monday, which, of course, started the search.
With me now to talk about Natalee and the search are Natalee‘s good friend, Frances Ellen Byrd, and also Pastor Mark Yoder, who is the youth minister at Natalee‘s church.
Let‘s start with you, Frances.
Tell us about your friend. Tell us about—about what we can do to help out.FRANCES ELLEN BYRD, FRIEND OF NATALEE:
Well, I first met Natalee in eighth grade when we had a welcoming party for her. She moved here from Mississippi.
And, ever since then, I have just been closest friends with her, as well as a few other of all of our good friends. Everybody in the school loves Natalee. Nobody can say anything bad about her. She is a straight-A student, 25 in a class out of 300 students in a very—school where we studied very hard. She is very—has very many honors. She is in dance team, Bible study.
Basically, she is a very responsible, well-loved child to everyone here.SCARBOROUGH:
And, Frances—you were actually with her, Frances, that night. Tell me when you and the rest of your friends first figured out that something was just not right.BYRD:
I figured out something was wrong when my friends came to knock on my door in the morning asking where she was, because Natalee was the first one up. She is the most responsible out of all of my friends. And we all—Natalee is the leader of our friends.
And when she wasn‘t there, we went straight—straight to the chaperons because something—we knew something was wrong.SCARBOROUGH:
And, Frances Ellen, you all are from Mountain Brook.
That‘s a part of Birmingham, correct?BYRD:
Yes. That‘s an area that I know well, because I went to the University of Alabama and have a lot of friends there.
Pastor, let me bring you in. I want to ask you about the prayer vigils that you are holding for this young lady. Obviously, a lot of people in your community have been touched by her. Tell us about it.BYRD:
Yes.MARK YODER, YOUTH PASTOR:
We—the interesting thing, Natalee and her family really don‘t go even to our church. We were asked by some parents of students that went on the trip as well when they got back, hey, can we just have a spot where students and parents and anybody interested can gather and pray? And, you know, that‘s a no-brainer, so, absolutely.
So, every day for the last three days, that‘s exactly what we have done. And it has been a—it‘s not at all surprising because of the community that we are in, but it has been an outpouring of support and love and...
What are you hearing about this—what are you hearing about this young girl that is missing tonight?YODER:
Absolutely everything positive. You know, as everyone is talking about her and friendships and relationships and her future and what lies ahead, nothing but good things.SCARBOROUGH:
Let me ask you, Frances Ellen, when is the last time you saw her?BYRD:
Yes, you saw her the night...BYRD:
I was with her that night.SCARBOROUGH:
You were with her that night.BYRD:
All the friends went back to the hotel. And did you all see her go back to the hotel or not?BYRD:
I am just leaving it that we saw her there.SCARBOROUGH:
Saw her that night.BYRD:
Well, Frances Ellen, thank you so much for being with us tonight. Mark, thank you. And, of course, our prayers are going to be with you, with Natalee and with Natalee‘s family on this very important search. BYRD:
Thank you. Thank you so much.
We really encourage everyone to pray. Thank you.BYRD:
Pray for Natalee. She is coming home.YODER:
Yes. SCARBOROUGH: All right. Thank you so much. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8083810