Remains of Tennessee student found three years after her disappearance

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 09, 2014 3:53 PM

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE Tenn. (Reuters) - The partial remains of missing Tennessee student Holly Bobo, a cousin of country music singer Whitney Duncan, have been found in Tennessee more than three years after she disappeared, officials said.

A human skull was discovered on Sunday by two men searching for ginseng in the woods in Decatur County, just miles from property owned by one of the men charged in her kidnapping and murder.

Investigators said late on Monday the remains were identified as Bobo's through dental records. The University of Tennessee's forensic anthropology team was working on Tuesday at the site where the skull was found.

"This is not over by any means," Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn told at a news conference on Monday night. "The investigation is still ongoing to get to the truth."

Bobo, a nursing student, was last seen in April 2011 by her brother, who told investigators he saw a man he mistook for her boyfriend lead her away from the family's rural home in Darden, Tennessee, about 90 miles southwest of Nashville.

Bobo, who was 20 when she disappeared, had been preparing to go to class that morning.

Two men, Jason Wayne Autry and Zachary Rye Adams, have been charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping in the case. Tennessee brothers Mark and Jeffrey Pearcy were charged with evidence tampering and as accessories after the fact.

"Other arrests will be forthcoming. ... We're gonna hunt these people until we find them," Decatur County Sheriff Keith Byrd said.

Surrounded by Bobo's family, lawyer Steve Farese told a news conference on Tuesday the developments were "bittersweet"

"We will never understand the actions or the motives of those who took Holly from us," Farese said, reading a statement from Bobo's family. "Those responsible have lost their souls."

District Attorney Matt Stowe said his office was "ready, willing, and able" to seek the death penalty in the case and would decide whether to do so in the coming weeks.

(Reporting by Tim Ghianni in Nashville and Eric M. Johnson; Editing by Nick Macfie and Peter Cooney)