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New clue reignites hunt for missing Tennessee student

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Searchers find an item that officials believe belonged to Holly Bobo
  • Mark Gwyn, head of the state Bureau of Investigation, declines to say exactly what was found
  • Bobo was last seen on April 14, being led away from her Tennessee home
  • Authorities believe she was kidnapped, though they haven't named a suspect

(CNN) -- Tennessee's top investigator said Monday that searchers have found an item that officials believe belonged to the 20-year-old nursing student who disappeared earlier this month.

Authorities have been looking for Holly Bobo since she vanished on April 14. Her brother told authorities he saw a man in camouflage leading her away from their home in the small town of Darden. The young woman was heading to nursing classes at the Tennessee Technology Center's Parsons campus at the time.

Mark Gwyn, director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said the item in question was being analyzed at a crime lab. He declined to say what exactly was found.

"Not only has it given the family hope, it's given the investigators hope. Anytime you find what you believe to be evidence from someone that's missing, it revives the search and the investigation," he said. "Hopefully this item will give us a huge piece of that puzzle."

An $80,000 reward -- which includes money from the state, local community and the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association -- has been offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the young woman's disappearance.

New clue energizes hunt for Holly Bobo

Authorities have yet to name any suspects in the case, although they have said they believe she was abducted. Officials have not released a description of the suspected kidnapper.

The Bobo case has rocked this largely rural swath of central Tennessee, from those who knew the young woman to others who have rallied behind the effort to find her.

Hundreds of volunteers -- some on horseback and foot, others on all-terrain vehicles -- have turned out to hunt for clues in Decatur, Henderson, Henry, Carroll and Benton counties. Many more have attended memorial services or offered supportive thoughts online via several groups on Facebook.

"I've never seen the outpouring of volunteers as we've had in this particular incident," Gwyn said. "We would not be at this point without them."