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The Neligh community came together Sunday night to “wrap its arms around the Loofe family” during a candlelight vigil to pray for the safe return of Sydney Loofe.
Missing since Wednesday, the disappearance of the Neligh native shook the area, leaving the residents of Antelope County in disbelief and wonder at where the 24-year-old daughter of George and Susie Loofe could be.
The family has said they fear she may have been abducted. Near the same time as the vigil, Lincoln police and Saline County Sheriff’s deputies reportedly were in Wilber investigating near a home in connection with her disappearance.
Police presence reportedly was heaviest around a home near the high school in Wilber, around 600 block of W 7th Street. No details have been released other than that the police presence was in connection to Sydney's disappearance.
Sydney Loofe of Lincoln was last heard from in a SnapChat prior to a date Wednesday, Nov. 15, with a stranger she met online. Her vehicle remains at her apartment and did not go to work on Thursday. Her phone has been disabled with the last ping giving the location in Wilber.
During Sunday’s vigil in her hometown of Neligh, about 250 people gathered in a horseshoe around a candle at the Neligh-Oakdale football field as Grace Lutheran Church Pastor David Kufahl led the prayer service. Both George and Susie Loofe are educators at the school — George as high school principal and assistant football coach and Susie as a special education teacher.
“I know this isn’t something any of us expected to be at tonight and we’re all in disbelief. But here we are as a community wrapping our arms around the Loofe family,” said Carrie Pitzer, one of the vigil organizers. The vigil was organized by her, along with Terra Bentley-Kimes, Linda Anderson and Jenny Higgins.
That sentiment of concern for the Loofe family has been echoed many times in the last several days. Social media posts have flooded Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and SnapChat with description and photo as friends, family and strangers do their part in trying to reach more and more people who may have seen Sydney.
That's also why Pitzer, Terra Bentley-Kimes, Linda Anderson and Jenny Higgins organized Sunday's vigil. They said they wanted to help the Loofe family, and with so many unknowns, they felt a community prayer would benefit both the Loofe family and community members.
The Loofe family said Sunday’s vigil was comforting and calming as they continue to search and pray. Despite few leads, the family remains hopeful that Sydney will return safely.
“We thank all of you for your prayers and support as the search continues for Sydney. Your support in sharing information on Sydney is greatly appreciated as we work to reach people all over the country since Sydney could be anywhere. Despite few leads, we remain hopeful for Sydney’s safe return. Thank you again for your many prayers and support and please keep looking for Sydney and remain hopeful that together we will find her,” the Loofes said in a statement read during the vigil.
Although the family has no new information into the 24-year-old's whereabouts, the family decided on Sunday to release images of her tattoos since they are easily recognizable.
"We feel that she could be ANYWHERE! So we’ve decided to post her tattoos because they’re easily recognizable. Please let us know if you have any information that may be useful in locating her," said Susie Loofe.
Sydney is a 5'7 female weighing about 130 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. Her last known location was near Wilber, Nebraska.
If you have any information on her whereabouts, contact the Lincoln Police Department at 402-441-7204.
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