Loved Ones Kept Hope Alive

Before a late afternoon announcement that two kidnapped girls were found alive and well, friends and relatives of the two steadfastly held out hope their loved ones were okay.

Mauricia Tate, one girl's cousin, told Fox News it was unusual for her to stay out late, since she had a curfew of midnight. Tate described his cousin as being strong-willed, and said she was smart enough to rack her brain to try to get out of whatever situation in which she found herself.

"She is a really good girl," Tate said. "She didn’t do this all the time. This is not like her at all."

The girl's mother was currently in Korea visiting her older daughter; her father, who does not live with the family, was in town. She was staying with her aunt and uncle until her mother returned from Korea.

Tate said his cousin just turned 16 last week and went out with the guy she was in the car with because he wanted to take her out to celebrate.

"She tells me everything about what she's doing and who she's with," Tate said. "She's never mentioned a new boyfriend or anything like that."

Just two days ago, his cousin told Tate that she did not want a boyfriend and wants to focus on school. She told Tate, a senior, that she wanted to help make her senior year fun.

"That was our goal," Tate said. "And now no one knows where she is or how she is doing."

Tate also said his cousin usually wore her hair curly.

The other girl's boyfriend, Riley Zottola, told Fox News the teen was a cheerleader and was in "very good shape."

He said she was a senior in high school and had very good grades.

"She could get away if it came down to it," Zottola said, but added she would be wary of fighting if she thought she didn't have a chance.

"She is very stubborn and she won't try to fight with anyone with a gun," Zottola said. "If it puts her life in danger, she's not dumb enough to do that."

Zottola said he and his girlfriend knew most of the same people and that there were always people with her. He said there was no talk of any strangers passing through town or scouting out the two girls that anyone knew of.

"There's been no strangers around here asking around -- it's always the same people," Zottola said.

Friends and family of the two girls said the victims did not know each other and attended separate schools.

-- Fox News' Liza Porteus conrtibuted to this report.