Vigil held to pray for return of missing Alabama woman

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Paighton Laine Houston (Photo: WIAT)

TRUSSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Dozens of people gathered at an Alabama church to pray for the safe return of a 29-year-old woman who disappeared in December.

Relatives and friends of Paighton Laine Houston gathered Monday night with worshipers at the Clearbranch United Methodist Church in Trussville, news outlets report. Parishioners were given candles and black bracelets that had a yellow bead “to remind you remind you that every time you see this bracelet it just takes one little light to overcome the whole darkness,” said Vaughn Stafford, the church’s lead pastor.

Authorities have said Houston was last seen on Dec. 20 leaving a Birmingham bar with two men. It was reported that she left willingly, Birmingham police Sgt. Johnny Williams told Al.com. She reportedly texted a friend later that night saying she didn’t know who she was with and she felt like she was in trouble.

Authorities still are reviewing surveillance video, and it’s unclear if foul play was involved in Houston’s disappearance, Williams said.

“We’re pretty much in the same place that we were when we first reported her missing,’’ he said. “We don’t have any other leads. We’ve exhausted the ones we’ve had to this point, but we’ll continue to investigate and try to develop new leads.”

Gov. Kay Ivey has offered a cash reward in the case. That’s in addition to a $5,000 reward offered by Crime Stoppers.

“Unfortunately, another female is missing in the state of Alabama,” Ivey said. She referenced the disappearances of Aniah Blanchard and Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, both later found dead.

Ivey said the $5,000 reward is “to help encourage anyone with credible information to contact the appropriate authorities and help make that happen.”

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