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Alabama pastor's wife disappears at Louisiana event

SUMMERDALE (AP) — Authorities continued a search Wednesday for a coastal Alabama pastor's wife who disappeared while attending a Christian women's conference in Louisiana.

Mary Byrne Smith, 30, was last seen about 11 a.m. Saturday when she went to the restroom at CenturyTel Center in Bossier City, La., site of the conference, according to Bossier City police spokesman Mark Natale.

Natale said Wednesday a search continued for Smith, whose husband had remained in Alabama with their children, but there had been no reported contacts with her.

No clues

Video surveillance in the arena didn't give a clue to her disappearance and investigators have not determined whether foul play is involved, Natale said.

The Press-Register reported Wednesday that a church friend who traveled with Smith said they were among about 14,000 people inside the arena for the event, Living Proof Live.

The event ended about noon Saturday, and Smith's friend stood by her car in the arena parking lot for two hours waiting for Smith. Smith's overnight bag was still in the car, Natale said.

She never showed, and her friend, whose name was not released, called police.

Smith, known by many as "Beth," is white, 5 feet 3 inches tall, 100 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes and a tattoo of the sun on the back of her right shoulder, Natale said. She was last seen wearing a gray sweat shirt and blue jeans.

The Rev. Jason Lee Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Summerdale, a town near Alabama's beaches, had been at home with their two children while his wife attended the conference, according to Larry Patterson, director of missions for the Baldwin Baptist Association.

The pastor, who could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday, went to Boosier City to help search for his wife. She had checked into a hotel Friday for the conference, but checked out Saturday.

Natale asked anyone with information regarding Smith's whereabouts to call Bossier City police at (318)-741-8605.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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