Search continues for Courtney Hayes in Haiti -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Search continues for Courtney Hayes in Haiti

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

DOUGLAS,  GA (WALB) – Rescue teams continue to search for two Lynn University faculty members and four missing students including 23-year-old Courtney Hayes of Douglas.

As some family members search for her in Port-au-Prince and the Dominican Republic other relatives and close friends are joining hands at home to pray.

Douglas First United Methodist Church will hold a service Monday night at 7:30 to pray for Courtney and everyone affected by the tragedy. And although it's been six days now of anguish and heartbreak, it seems everyone still has faith they'll find her alive.

Amidst miles of death and destruction in Port-au-Prince are stories of survival. Over the weekend, rescuers pulled more survivors from the rubble in Haiti, including a Florida woman, Mireille Dittmer.

"That's what we've been going on. Hope. And to hear that story was phenomenal news. For that family and ours," said Matt Sears. Courtney Hayes' boyfriend Matt Sears and others related to the missing six from Lynn University spoke in a news conference over the weekend expressing the belief that they'll soon be reunited with loved ones.

"They're alive down there. They just need to be found, and found soon," said Sears.

"That continues to be the belief of all those involved in this rescue effort," said Lynn University spokesman Jason Hughes.

Monday search and rescue teams continued scanning the pile of concrete that used to be Hotel Montana where these Lynn University students were staying. Courtney and the others still missing were believed to be in their hotel rooms located on the first and second floors when the earthquake hit.

"Courtney is the strongest person I know, both mentally and physically and she can survive this," Sears told reporters.

"We are very close and she's extremely close to my son. I love her and I really want her to come home," said her sister Lauren Hayes.

Like many others awaiting news on those missing in Haiti, Courtney's family and friends are turning to God for strength.

"We just ask that everybody continue to pray for Courtney," said family friend Natalie Matthews.

Prayers for her safety, wherever she may be.

Courtney's uncle remains at the hotel site and her parents are in the Dominican Republic searching hospitals. Hundreds of people are expected to attend that prayer service Monday in Douglas. Friends of Courtney's are asking everyone to wear red Tuesday to show support for the victims of the Haiti earthquake.

Students at Lynn University plan to hold candlelight vigils on campus each night until all members of their campus community in Haiti are accounted for.

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