MOBILE, Ala. (WALA)- The family of Melinda Denny, 26, is praying for her safe return.
“She has four small children that need her very, very much. Melinda is a very good-hearted individual. she’s young, 26, so she’s a young mom. She has her whole life ahead of her,” said Pamela Madden-Watts, Denny’s aunt.
Watts said Denny traveled to New Orleans Thursday, February 20 to pick up Jonathan Nall, who is also from Mobile.
Thursday night, Watts said, Denny called her mom and said she was headed home. Denny’s cousin, Stephanie Madden-Hoover, shared her account of what happened next.
“When they did not show up in Mobile, her mother called her cell phone on Friday, and Jonathan Nall answered the phone and said, ‘you can’t talk to Melinda right now,'” said Hoover.
Early Saturday morning, St. Tammany Parish deputies said Nall’s mother asked deputies to check on the couple after a conversation with her son.
A deputy checked on the couple, near Covington, and said they appeared to be okay. That was the last time Denny was seen.
Around noon Saturday, St. Tammany Parish deputies said Nall was involved in a two-hour long standoff with deputies after he threatened to kill himself at gas station. He was arrested after deputies shot him with a bean bag gun.
Soon after his arrest, deputies learned Denny was traveling with Nall and the search began.
Authorities said Nall is not talking about Denny or where she may be. Nall is undergoing evaluation at the St. Tammany Parish Jail. Nall has been booked on count of terrorizing and one count resisting an officer. He is being held without bond.
A Nall family spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Deputies are concentrating their search for Denny along the I-12 corridor in western St. Tammany. I-12 branches off of I-10 in Louisiana.
Denny’s family hopes she can hear their message.
“That we love her. That we miss her, and her babies miss her, and we want her home. She deserves to me home,” said Watts.