Missing Bride's Pastor Goes 'On the Record'

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," April 27, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: It's day two in the desperate search for missing bride-to-be Jennifer Wilbanks. Just moments ago, the pastor expected to marry Jennifer and her fiance made a statement to the press. He joins us now from Duluth. Welcome, Pastor.


VAN SUSTEREN: Pastor how long have you known Jennifer and John?

JONES: I've probably known John four or five years.

VAN SUSTEREN: And Jennifer?

JONES: Probably about a year-and-a-half. About a year-and-a- half.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's Jennifer like?

JONES: She is very vivacious, very energetic, very healthy young lady. Just a beautiful girl, a joy to be around.

VAN SUSTEREN: And what's John like?

JONES: John is very easygoing, very compassionate. John has taught our youth Sunday school for a couple of years. The boys love him. He's just a great guy.

VAN SUSTEREN: The description that you just gave me of both of them, does that fit the description of them when you saw them on Tuesday night?

JONES: Well, it was Sunday night when I counseled with them last. And yes, absolutely. We had our last counseling session and talked about the final touches on their ceremony, joked around about what we would be wearing and the things that were going to be going on. Just had a great time.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you detect any problems with Jennifer at all, any sort of hesitation about anything in her life, not just her pending marriage but anything, or was she that usual vivacious the way you described?

JONES: Oh, absolutely not, Greta. She was even more vivacious than I had seen her, so excited about the wedding. And you know, when I hear things about runaway bride — I've walked through with this for three months, and I saw their excitement, no doubt at all.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. You said a few moments ago in your statement, sir, that their ceremony is sitting on your desk. Did they write the ceremony?

JONES: We worked together. I gave them kind of something that I've done in the past for ceremonies, and we tweaked it and, you know, customized the vows and things to fit just their specific situation.

VAN SUSTEREN: What's going to happen on Saturday? I mean, you expressed some optimism that the wedding is still going to go forward. Where do you sort of get that strength of optimism, sir?

JONES: Well, the family has a very strong faith in God, and we still believe that Jennifer's out there. And Greta, we just want people to pray, and if they've heard anything at all, to let the police know, give them some help. And if somebody's out there holding Jennifer, she's a real person, a wonderful person with a real mom and a read dad that are really hurting, and a fiancé that is broken-hearted right now.

VAN SUSTEREN: Pastor, do you know of any clues or any hints or tips that would give optimism to the rest of us out here tonight?

JONES: Clues as far as what, Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, has anyone spotted her? Did anyone see her running that night? Have you heard anything at all?

JONES: Nothing at all, Greta. In fact, the police department has handled this so well. Every time they hear a little tidbit, they don't come and get the family excited and give false hope. They come in at night and give them a briefing so far. That's how they've handled it. So you guys probably know more than the family does as we go along.

VAN SUSTEREN: Pastor, one of the things I'm sure the viewers wonder about is that John right away volunteered to do a lie-detector, polygraph. And of course, everyone who knows her spouse is someone people the police should look at. Now he wants to wait until 1:00 o'clock, now that the police have taken him up on the offer, to wait until 1:00 o'clock tomorrow to decide. Any idea why?

JONES: John hasn't had much sleep, nor has the rest of the family, Greta. And I think he just needs some rest. John has nothing to hide. In fact, he talked to me. He's excited about going ahead and taking that and just getting it out of the way.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. And I didn't mean to suggest necessarily that he did. It's just that it's a very sort of a routine investigative tool that they use on every family member and friend. So Pastor, any words of encouragement to the family tonight?

JONES: Well, just know that the country is praying for them. You know, we got a lot of faith, a lot of hope. This family's pulled together like you wouldn't believe. And they're grieving. So just continue to pray.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Pastor. Thank you.

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