TODAY   |  July 23, 2011

Missing mother feared for life

Police in Missouri are stepping up their efforts to find clues into what became of Jacque Waller, a mother of triplets who went missing June 1 after telling family members she feared for her life. TODAY's Amy Robach speaks to Cheryl Brenneke about the search for her sister.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> there are new details in the search for jackie waler, the mother of triplets and she hasn't been seen or heard from since june 1st . authorities in missouri step up efforts to find her, her family is speaking out about this agonizing mystery. her older sister , cheryl, joins us from missouri. good morning to you, cheryl.

>> good morning.

>> i cannot even imagine how difficult this must be. your sister 's been missing for a month now. and i know you've been taking care of her three children, her triplets since she moved in with you in march. how are they holding up? i can't imagine the questions they have about where their mom is.

>> it's very, very hard. we keep them distracted and busy. they just -- nighttime's the hardest. it's definitely the hardest. they know they're loved and they're protected. they're okay. they're great kids.

>> i know her former husband, clay, who police have dubbed as a person of interest, but he's not been actually named a suspect. he spoke out this week, saying the community is out to get him. his attorney says his car was spray pained with the words "killer" on it. he said he was shot at with a pellet gun . we spoke to his attorney who told us, quote, he's very stressed out, very depressed. he has to live his life knowing the vast majority of people have already condemned him. he's fearful for his life. this has destroyed their lives. what do you have to say about all of that?

>> fantastic. i'm thrilled to death that he is scared for his life. my sister lived her -- definitely the last year of her life in fear for her life, definitely the last six months he was nonstop with his threats. i'm thrilled to death that he's fearful for his life. that's great.

>> did you ever hear him threaten her or did you ever observe anything where you felt like your sister was unsafe?

>> my sister -- me and my sister are very, very close. like i said, she lived with me. she shared everything with me. and i would hear her on the phone with him. i mean, it was just nonstop phone calls , phone calls . i'm like, don't even answer. she's like, i just don't want him to come up here. she would tell me about their conversations. she's never been one to embellish on a story to make it sound better. she was very serious. she was very concerned for her safety, for the kids' safety. you know, she just -- she was always fearful. so, i mean, she -- i didn't hear him directly, but she told me about their conversations on a daily basis. and it was nonstop.

>> and, i know the search continues for your sister this weekend. hundreds of people are coming together to look for her. what do you want people to know about jacquie as they look for your sister ?

>> we appreciate it so much. it's supposed to be -- poefd to feel like 115 today. bless their hearts. they're out there beating the bushes. you know, working on hard to try to find her for us. we appreciate it. more than they'll ever know.

>> are you hopeful you will find your sister ?

>> oh, i'm very hopeful. the dedication that the community has shown. i'm very hopeful.

>> we certainly are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. thank you so much for joining us under such difficult circumstances.

>> thank you.

>>> and we're back after these