The rescue of three young women in Cleveland after a decade of captivity gives hope to the friends and family of other missing people, and could change how law enforcement investigates such disappearances.
One who is still missing is Holly Bobo, a nursing student who disappeared in April 2011 when her brother reported seeing a man dragging her into the woods behind her Parsons, Tenn., home. Despite intensive searches, few hints of Bobo, who was 20 at the time, have been found in the two years since her disappearance.
''Of course, I was excited as I'm sure the rest of the world was," said Karen Bobo, the missing woman's mother. "It gave us a renewed faith, a renewed hope. With the community efforts, we expect to find Holly."
Added Don Franks, pastor of Bobo's church: "We believe that she's alive. Certainly, this gives us added enthusiasm in our search for Holly, to bring her back home to her family."
In Cleveland, police freed Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight from a home in which they'd been held captive for about a decade. Three brothers living in the home were arrested.
Karen Bobo said the fact that the women in Cleveland were held by a seemingly ordinary man suggests that everyone looking for her daughter should take a hard look at those around them.
''It's not always the guy in the trench coat under the bridge. Sometimes it's the neighbor in plain sight. I've always had a fear that a lead or a tip early on, since there were so many in those first days, that possibly it didn't get to the right person. I ask everybody to just try to go back once again to that day and anything you can think of that was out of place, to call the tip line (800-TBI-FIND) or get on the website (findinghollybobo.com)."
While many such cases end in tragedy, the discovery of someone long thought dead fuels optimism in bereft families, officials said.
''It gives every parent who has a missing child hope that their child is alive and will be found. They think that today or tomorrow is the day my child will be rescued," said Margie Quin, an assistant special agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation who searches for missing children.
Such recoveries should affect the way law enforcement handles missing persons cases, Quin said.
''We have to change the way we look at investigations. We have to take these sorts of things into consideration, that maybe these children are being held in bondage somewhere," she said. "A live recovery is diminished, the more time that goes by. But it never goes away completely."
One Tennessee family was lucky.
In Memphis in 1981, Ernest Stubblefield kidnapped Leslie Gattas from her East Memphis home. He held her captive for four months, hiding out in a Memphis church, before she was discovered and rescued.
Leslie, then 15, was held for 119 days in a crawl space in the church. Stubblefield, who never revealed his motive for the kidnapping, pleaded guilty and served some 20 years behind bars before he was released in 2002.
''When you're in a situation like that you just dwell on faith," said George Gattas, Leslie's father. "I never, never gave up hope. I know the families of those girls (in Cleveland) were elated ... I still thank the good Lord every day when I go to church.
His daughter, Leslie, now a Memphis lawyer, and did not respond to inquiries.