COLUMBIA, Tenn. - While the entire Columbia community has struggled through this process, Elizabeth Thomas' kidnapping hit her family and friends the hardest.
Now that the sun has set in Columbia, it`s hard to see the green bows that can be found all over the downtown square. But these green lights shine in the darkness.
Friends and family of Elizabeth Thomas found their own light earlier today. When they got word, Elizabeth is safe and unharmed "That call was really relief. As soon as I heard they found that car, it's like man, they're going to get them," said Elizabeth's friend Caleb Banks.
At 12:04 p.m. Caleb got a call from Elizabeth`s older sister. One he's been praying for since day one.
"They found her they found her. We broke out into tears on the phone talking to each other. Ecstatic, happy, I felt sick to my stomach at the same time," said Banks.
Paige Griffith calls herself Elizabeth's second mom. The false alarm in Memphis and old tip in Oklahoma made her initially cautious. "I was just keeping my fingers crossed that this was real," she explained.
So you can only imagine what happened when she learned Elizabeth was indeed safe. "I've been praying so hard for this day and I'm so glad she's ok." said Griffith.
Both spent countless hours posting on social media, hanging signs, and tying green ribbons.
"I went to Walmart Hobby Lobby, craft stores, I bought out all of Walmart's green ribbons here and in Spring Hill," said Banks.
The ribbons that once sought attention for a case growing colder by the day, now have a new meaning.
Paige Griffith isn't ready to see them come down. "Shoot we can paint the whole town green, I don't care. I don't want to take them down. It's a celebration now. I may just leave the stickers on my car because she's home and that's what it says on there, bring her home and we did."
As the sun sets in this quaint southern town many questions remain unanswered, but Elizabeth's second mom said that's not what's important.
"I'm not going to ask her a lot of questions for a long time because she needs to process this."
What is important is that Elizabeth knows she's loved.
"This was not her fault. There's not one person around that's going to blame her for a thing. She was a victim of this man and she needs to understand everybody loves her and will support her," said Griffith.
According to friends of the family, Elizabeth has still not called her family here in Columbia.
There's no word yet why that hasn't happened yet.