Terry Cook, the reverend of the Pike County Blessed Hope Church in Missouri, led the family vigil when Alisa Maier went missing and has been with Alisa since she was rescued and reunited with her family. He talks to momlogic about the latest developments in the case.
"This story is nothing but a miracle!" says Cook. "Friends in Belgium and Australia have heard about it in the news, so it's really gotten worldwide attention. I was down there today at the house with Alisa and her family. They want some time alone. Grandpa Roy is running interference, standing in the driveway and talking to reporters. Alisa was unharmed and she's doing well. She's a happy little girl, just with shorter hair now. We're not letting her out into the public for a while, because we want to make sure she's going to recover. Right now she's a happy little girl, and she's chattery, if that's even a word! She's just come off a big adventure and she's running around like it's a family reunion. They have a very big family, and it's a small town where everyone knows everyone. Next Saturday, the 17th, they will hold a thanksgiving service down at the riverfront with the whole family, Alisa, and the town."
Cook says this incident is going to change everybody's life. "I have heard a lot of moms saying they don't think they can take their eyes off their kids," he says. "This is Louisiana, Missouri, and this just doesn't happen here. It's a safe and rural community, and things like this just don't happen here. You can play in the streets, ride your bikes, go to the local ice cream shop ... kids were always able to play outside, but now it's changing. Fear is causing the change. When I was a kid here in town, we didn't lock the doors, but now we have security systems."
Cook has some thoughts about Paul Smith, the man who allegedly abducted Alisa and then later killed himself. "As for the man who abducted Alisa, I grieve for his lost soul," he says. "I know several other people have different things to say about that. I did pray for him Tuesday night. I prayed that he not only let the girl go, but that he saved his own soul. Now if that happened, it would have been a double miracle."