Mom of missing Ala. woman hopes for safe return

Published 9:01 pm Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The mother of a young woman missing for more than a week said Tuesday she is holding out hope that her daughter will be found safe though police suspect foul play in the disappearance.

“We are in such a state of disbelief,” Nancy Kersh said of the mystery surrounding her daughter’s whereabouts.

Nadia Kira Kersh, 23, was last seen on Nov. 3 when she left work at a suburban grocery store to pick up her 1-year-old son at a day care center. She never showed up to get the child, and her car was found abandoned the next day in west Birmingham. Her purse was found on nearby railroad tracks.

Police aren’t sure what happened to Kersh, but they have questioned three men and believe at least one of them, whom they describe as an acquaintance of Kersh, may have been involved in her disappearance.

“We have a suspect that we’re looking at, but we had to release him because we can just hold someone so long,” said Lt. Chuck Moore of the Homewood Police Department. “We are building a case.”

A friend is taking care of the son of the young woman, who is single.

Nancy Kersh said she and her husband were unaware of Nadia’s disappearance for several days because they just relocated to northern Virginia from Guam, where her husband was stationed with the military. They were notified when friends of their daughter found them.

Kersh, who is in Alabama, has been in contact with police and the office of Gov. Bob Riley, who offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or the discovery of Nadia Kersh’s whereabouts.

“The hardest thing to do at this point is be patient and wait,” said Nancy Kersh. “There’s always the possibility of a search party, but we have to wait.”

The family adopted Nadia from a Russian orphanage when she was a preschooler, and Nancy Kersh said Nadia moved to the Birmingham area several years ago to be near a twin sister who was also adopted.

Nadia seemed happy and content, her mother said, but it was difficult to know much about her life while living thousands of miles away in Guam.

Nancy Kersh described her daughter as an “extremely trusting individual” who is a free spirit but may have been involved in a bad relationship.

“She’ll give you the shirt off her back if she can make you happy,” she said.