Senegal’s ‘best student’ disappeared in France. She didn’t run away, mother says.

That was when Diary’s title final popped onto the display screen of her mother’s cellphone. The younger woman, an educational movie star in this West African nation, had recorded a voice message for her 5-year-old sister: I miss you extra! I like you a lot.

Then nobody might attain her.

“All I do is wait for her call,” mentioned Binta Sow, 40, lifting one other tissue to her face. “The world has stopped.”

Now tens of millions of persons are following the case, posting messages of help for Diary and her household from three continents. French police, working with Senegalese investigators, have widened their search to a number of cities however have remained tight-lipped. Authorities have alerted officers throughout the Schengen Area to her disappearance.

There is anguish in Senegal, the place the president has referred to as Diary a “rising star.” Her first novel, a twisted love story, got here out final 12 months. She deliberate to pursue an engineering profession. Her college, the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, is taken into account a launchpad to France’s prime science-focused universities.

Diary received a full-ride scholarship.

“She can do anything,” mentioned her uncle, Mahfouz Sarr. “She is so wise for her age. She has so much strength.”

On the final night they chatted, her mother mentioned, Diary sounded excited. Classes had been to renew the following morning.

She had spent a lot of her vacation break in her dorm room, studying books and ordering hamburgers. Diary isn’t one to exit a lot, Binta mentioned. The coronavirus pandemic made socializing even much less interesting.

New Year’s Eve was the exception. Diary traveled to Toulouse, France, to go to household mates, a mother and a daughter. They principally sat round and caught up, Binta mentioned.

Her mother recalled Diary sounding completely regular whereas describing the reunion. Upbeat. Nonchalant. She mentioned she was again in her dorm room, making ready for the college day. (Investigators confirmed that she had keyed in.)

The daughter of a homemaker and a baker, Diary went to high school with far richer children. Did she face cliques? Bullies?

“My daughter would never care to even mention anything like that,” Binta mentioned. “If someone doesn’t like her, she’d just walk away.”

Diary, naturally reserved, was identified to maintain her head down in school. She busied herself with studying and writing.

She had lately completed her second ebook, her mother mentioned, and needed to proofread it once more earlier than sending it to publishers. Her first, “Under the Face of an Angel,” had drawn acclaim in Senegal.

Internet sleuths had puzzled: What concerning the strain? What if she had merely run away from all of it?

Binta couldn’t think about that.

“My daughter is clear about what she will do and what she will not do,” the mother mentioned. “She doesn’t fake it to impress anyone.”

Plus, she mentioned, Diary is shut along with her household. She cherished to bake birthday truffles along with her father rising up in their village, Malicounda Bambara, about 50 miles southeast of the capital, Dakar. She grieved deeply when he died in April, her mother mentioned, however centered on comforting her household.

At residence, they hold her mattress made with a blanket lined in purple hearts. Her bookshelf remains to be crammed full. Her initials (D.S.) are etched into the wooden.

Diary usually rang her mother on the weekends — weekdays are for finding out — however rapidly replied to WhatsApp voice messages from her 5-year-old sister, Amy Colle.

“I miss you. I love you,” the little girl mentioned Jan. 3. “When are you coming home?”

“My love, I miss you more,” Diary had replied on WhatsApp. “I love you so much.”

She promised to return residence for summer season break.

Every message Binta despatched after that went unopened, in keeping with the learn receipts.

A day later, Diary’s college reported her lacking.

Nothing concerning the disappearance is smart, her mother mentioned. Diary was imagined to be protected in Paris. So many college students dream of finding out there.

“I’m putting it all on God,” Binta mentioned.

Diary’s mother mentioned she is grateful for the outpouring of affection, the neighbors dropping off envelopes of money — a conventional gesture of help throughout a tragedy.

On Wednesday, her lounge stuffed with sudden guests. There was the village mayor, a neighborhood lawmaker, an entourage of individuals sporting T-shirts that includes Diary’s face. They gathered under Diary’s framed scholastic awards.

Everyone turned their palms up and prayed for solutions.

Binta’s cellphone, resting on her lap, saved lighting up.

Not her daughter. Not her daughter.

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