Five days since she disappeared, there’s still no sign of a missing Surgoinsville teenager.
An AMBER Alert was issued for Hayleigh Wilson, 14, on Wednesday. Investigators believe Benjamin Shook, 41, a convicted sex offender, lured her from her home after the two met online.
The two were last caught on surveillance cameras in Sugar Grove, Virginia. Law enforcement in Smyth County and surrounding areas are trying to track the pair down.
As law enforcement continues to search for the missing 14-year-old, her friends are family are waiting for her safe return back to Surgoinsville.
“We want to see Hayleigh come home and I know that God’s got his arms around her, taking care of her,” said Hayleigh’s neighbor, Tracy Laster.
A nationwide alert for Hayleigh remains in effect, as of Saturday. Laster said, “when it actually hit in our neighborhood, it really it and hurt hard.”
Yellow ribbons now cover the streets, lamp posts, and trees throughout Surgoinsville. Friend Cristy Upchurch said, “every single ribbon that we cut today was for you, (Hayleigh).”
“If Hayleigh were to see this and see what’s happened, on her behalf, and how many people are actually out here praying for her, then it would give me hope,” Upchurch added.
Some in town are finding comfort in a familiar Bible verse: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Many in Surgoinsville gathered to pray for Hayleigh, Saturday. Molly Worley said, “power in prayer. We’re all just gathered together and it gives us hope.” She said, “we’re all going to pray we’re not going to stop praying. And we expect Hayleigh to come home.”
“I just hope that she’s safe,” friend Billie Falin said.
Besides the power of prayer, Hayleigh’s friends and family have a message: “Just don’t give up, because we will find you, (Hayleigh).”
If you have any information on the whereabouts of Hayleigh Wilson or Benjamin Shook, you’re asked to call the TBI at 1.800.TBI.FIND or call 911.
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