September 9 - The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation finally got a break in the case, although through none of their efforts, when two ginseng hunters came across a human skull in the woods where they were hunting on Sunday morning, September 7. The skull was identified as that of Holly Bobo and the news was released late on Monday, September 8. Although the finding of her remains makes it a lot easier to try someone for murder, it doesn't mean that the case has actually been solved. As pointed out below, there is some question as to whether the charges against Zach Adams are truly valid. Although the place where the remains were found is near the Adams home on a straight line, it is several miles away by road. All we really know at this point is that based on information released by TBI, Holly Bobo is dead.

These are the details leading to the arrest of Zachary Adams of Holladay, Tennessee for aggrevated kidnapping and murder of Holly Bobo. Although few details have been released and the TBI says that her remains have yet to be found, Miss Bobo is alleged to have been seen in the company of Adams and two of his friends, Jason Autry and Shayne Austin in Adams home the day of her disappearance. The claim was made by Adams' brother Dylan, who is currently in jail on firearms charges and is reported to have low mental capacity. Initially, Zach Adams was held on other charges, which have since been dropped now that he had been charged with Miss Bobo's murder. He was arrested in February and charged with Bobo's murder in early March. Contrary to media reports, the three are NOT neighbors of the Bobo family. Although Adams and Austin are residents of Decatur County as was Bobo, they lived some 15 miles away at the north end of the county. Austin lived across the county line in Benton County.  Adams' mother has stated that Holly Bobo's mother was her son's fourth grade teacher, but there is no indication that Holly knew him. Holly's best friend has told the media that she saw a man who resembled Austin at the Decatur County Coon Hunt a few days before her disappearance that she thought was "stalking" her or Holly. (The media has made a big deal out of the man being dressed in camouflage, but camouflage clothing is like a uniform in rural areas where hunting is a popular pasttime. Holly even wore camouflage herself.) No reason for her abduction has been given but there are indications that she may have been murdered after she was taken to Adams' home on Adams Lane just south of Holladay. Although the three men range in age from 26-39, they are alleged to have been friends since early childhood. Adams and Autry have a history of criminal acts, some violent, including drug violations. Austin was arrested in Murfreesboro while a student at Middle Tennessee State University. Austin obtained immunity from prosecution on the condition that he show law enforcement officials where Bobo's body is but no body has been found and the State has rescinded the offer of immunity on the basis that he was untruthful; his attorney has sued the State.

Law enforcement has searched the property around Zach Adams home and have reported that they have found evidence, but not what kind, but no remains. Finding a body could be extremely difficult. Although Holladay is located on I-40 and Tenn. 69 highways, it is in an area that can properly be described as "backwoods."  The Tennessee River runs a little over six miles to the east and the country in between is largely wooded hills. Although the Adams home is located in an area that is predominently sandstone, a large area of limestone starts less than a mile to the south and extends for miles. It is a karst area, with several known caves, an area where pits caused by erosion of limestone cracks are common. Shortly after he was incarcerated, Zach Adams approached another inmate who was bound for the same jail where his brother is being held and told him to tell Dylan that if he didn't keep his mouth shut, he was going to end up "in the hole next to her." Limestone pits are literally holes in the ground. In short, finding a body in such an area is not "like finding a needle in a haystack," it's much worse. (May 3, 2014)

After three years, the TBI has charged two men and possibly a third with first-degree murder and aggrevating kidnapping in the case. However, no body has been discovered and two have denied the charges and the third was given immunity, which the State claims was invalidated. The TBI says they have sworn statements from witnesses who saw Holly alive after she disappeared from her home. (May 1, 2014)

Update - The most recent releases from Tennessee law enforcement is that all searching has ceased except for following of the more than 1,000 "leads" that have been submitted to the TBI (including "information provided by psychics.") Any future searches will be conducted by law enforcement.  (May 14, 2011)

According to a brief article on MSNBC, the TBI is looking at previous missing persons cases for clues. (May 15)

As with all missing persons cases, the Holly Bobo case is no longer news and literally nothing is being reported about the case. That hasn't stopped an army of paid Internet bloggers such as Chelsea Hoffman from using the story to make money by "publishing" speculative articles to satisfy the myriad of what can only be called Holly Bobo enthusiasts. A fake internet site purporting to be the "official" site for searchers has been putting forth "information" that are nothing short of libelous. It truly has become a circus, a circus of magnimous proportions. (May 27)

After weeks of silence in the media, the TBI has revealed a few more details about the moments of her disappearance. Her brother Clint was sleeping and was awakened by their dog barking. He then looked out the window and saw her with someone dressed in camouflage. He ran out and found a spilled Coke can and a small pool of blood by her car. Then he called their mother and 911. The TBI has not revealed who or even what kind of blood was found, but there was only the one small pool. (June 3)

The Disappearance of Holly Bobo

As someone who was born and raised in West Tennessee, my interest was naturally captured by the disappearance of a young Decatur County woman by the name of Holly Lynn Bobo. I say Decatur County, the Bobo home is actually almost right on the Henderson County-Decatur County line and the address is shown out of the community of Darden, which is in Henderson. It's an area with which I have some familiarity, although I grew up in neighboring Carroll County about thirty miles away. When I was about nine or ten years old I went with my dad to Decatur County on one of the first deer hunts he ever went on. At the time Carroll was closed to deer hunting due to a lack of an adequate population. We also used to go to the Tennessee River and camp on property owned by some of my dad's Decatur County friends. A number of years ago I visited Decatur County in search of caves to explore and actually passed pretty close to where the Bobo home is located on Swan Johnson Road. Then this past July we spent several days at Natchez Trace State Park only about six miles from the home. West Tennessee is my native land and anything of any magnitude that takes place there is going to interest me to some degree.

According to reports, sometime on the morning of April 13 20-year old Holly was seen in the company of a man dressed in camouflage by her older brother, and was evidently moving in the direction of the wooded area that surrounds the home on three sides (which direction has never been specified.) Initial media reports were that she was "dragged" and some news accounts even went so far as to claim she was abducted from inside the home in a home invasion, but those reports were false. As it turns out, she had evidently left the house to get into her car for the drive to classes she was taking at the technical school in Parsons when she encountered someone. According to reports from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Decatur County Sheriff's department, she was seen moving toward the woods by her brother, who evidently witnessed what is believed to be an abduction from somewhere inside the house. At the time he didn't think anything about it, but thought Holly's boyfriend had come up and talked her into going turkey hunting with him. After all, turkey season was in and Holly had reportedly gone hunting in the morning before school with her boyfriend before. It wasn't until sometime later when he came out and saw that her car was still there and spotted some blood somewhere in the vicinity of the carport that he became alarmed. Just what he did after that is unclear and the TBI and Decatur County sheriff's department have not said, but he evidently called his mother, a teacher who had gone to school some time before, and Holly's boyfriend, who turned out not to have gone hunting that day. Two 911 calls were made, one by Holly's brother and one evidently by her mother. There have also been reports of a neighbor reporting to someone that she had heard a woman scream but this account is unclear as media reports at the time are confusing.

(There is a question as to just why the Decatur County sheriff's department is in charge of the investigation since the Bobo home is just 3,000 feet inside the county line. Granted, they were the one to answer the initial 911 call but at least half of the immediate surrounding area is actually in Henderson County and thus out of Decatur county's jurisdiction. The same goes for local emergency managment organizations. Only the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Highway Patrol have jurisdiction in both counties.)

At some point someone from the sheriff's office came out to investigate, and then a few hours later the TBI entered the picture. By this time the media had become aware of the incident and word began to spread. It turns out that Holly's first cousin is a country and western singer by the name of Whitney Duncan, a native of nearby Scotts Hill in Henderson County. Someone manufactured a poster with "AMBER ALERT" posted on it - never mind that Holly is an adult and thus no Amber Alert would be issued for her - and began circulating it through the social networking media, particularly Twitter. The "Amber Alert" - which did not exist - spread quickly through Twitter and Facebook in tweets and posts made by members of Whitney Duncan's fan club, members of the entertainment community and by people who knew Holly - then by people who not only didn't know her, they had no idea where the "abduction", if that is indeed what happened, had occurred. It wasn't long before "missing persons" enthusiasts all over the country picked up on the disappearance and were advancing theories about what had happened, some implying that her brother must be somehow involved. Some actually sought input from people in the area but most based their theories on what they had seen in the media and heard on TV. (Then there are the psychics, who don't even deserve to be discussed. Some are making outrageous claims in order to attract people to their "services.") There was a lot of discussion about the camouflage clothing - which is like a uniform in a region that thrives on hunting and fishing - and suggestions that stores be checked to see who had bought some recently. (Yeah, right! Every Walmart in the state sells camouflage! Not to mention every outdoor store, hunting and fishing shop and military surplus place.) There was speculation that the "perpetrator" might have been someone who had been in town the previous weekend for the World's Largest Coon Hunt, a national charity benefit for St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis that is essentially a field trial for coon hounds.

Within days of her cousin's disappearance, Whitney Duncan appeared on the national television network morning shows and TV and newspaper reporters from around the country traveled to the fairgrounds in Parsons where a volunteer search headquarters was set up. Hundreds of people reported to the Decatur County fairgrounds to join the search, both local people as well as interested parties who had come from hundreds of miles away because they had found out about the disappearance through social media. Hundreds searched wooded areas and along roads looking for clues to her disappearance. News reports based on press conferences and media releases were very sketchy because local and state law enforcement agencies didn't really have much to report. A lunch box (or pail) that was identified by her mother as Holly's was found in a creek several miles from the Bobo home near the community of Bible Hill and searchers immediately jumped to the conclusion that she had tossed it out of a vehicle as a clue to the direction her abductor had taken her. Will Nunley, a reporter/anchor man for WBBJ TV in Jackson, began tweeting reports of what he heard and what was being reported on Twitter, tweets that were followed religiously by people all over the world who were anxious for news of the fate of the attractive young blonde woman. Search efforts were hamped by thunderstorms which moved through the area but many volunteers continued searching in the rain.

Just how the search efforts were organized and where searchers were looking is unclear - to be honest, there are reports that the volunteer search wasn't truly organized at all. Reports from the command center gave indications of the areas being searched, and enthusiasts were tuning in to the Decatur County and other local emergency and law enforcement radio frequencies in hopes of hearing something that would let them know what was going on. In fact, it was evidently something heard on a radio frequency scanner that led to a report that she had been found in a cabin at Natchez Trace State Park and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville. (A local radio host claimed that she had been found and that she had been taken to Vanderbilt and was being held in seclusion.) Although there have been no media reports, friends in the area who have been paying attention to the case have told me that a woman was indeed flown by helicopter to Vanderbilt. She was a guest at Natchez Trace who fell ill or was injured. Reports began spreading even among the volunteers, many of whom returned to the fairgrounds thinking all of the prayers and well wishes on the part of Holly had been answered. Alas, it was not true. After a few days law enforcement left the fairgrounds to set up their own command center at the National Guard armory.

Not only was law enforcement not saying much about the case, well-meaning people sought to control the flow of information. Someone - they claim they are not part of the family - set up a Facebook page and then carefully administered it to make sure that nothing was posted that might put the family in a bad light. They also did not want anything on the page that might be related to the case unless it was something that had been released to the media by law enforcement. When a man who lived a few miles north of the Bobo home was charged with stalking two women in Jackson only a few days before she disappeared, the page administrators didn't want anything about the charges on their page. All they wanted were comments such as "praying for Holly," "don't give up hope," etc and etc. Twitter was full of the same thing.

The volunteer search effort fell apart about a week after Holly disappeared when strong thunderstorms moved into the area along with strong winds and tornadoes. They were followed two days later by an even stronger weather system that effectively ruined any hope of finding evidence. The volunteer command center was shut down and there have been no volunteer searches since, at least not officially. The last reports of anything positive made by the media were a week and a half after she disappeared. The first report was that law enforcement had recieved a tip that resulted in a search near Interstate 40. The following day some items that were linked with Holly were found just out of Parsons off of US 69 highway and due east of the Bobo home - and several miles southeast of where the lunch pail had been found more than a week before. There are rumors that the two items were her cell phone and student ID card but the TBI has never said what they were. This information was evidently known within the local area but never reported in the media. There were also rumors that her cell phone had been found earlier in a vehicle, along with some camouflaged clothing but it appears that the vehicle belonged to a turkey hunter. Other than the lunch box (pail) and the items that were found on the outskirts of Parsons, no information about any clues has been released. There were accounts on cable TV shows of a piece of duct tape with a strand of blonde hair on it that was allegedly found, but this has never been confirmed even though a piece of duct tape was shown on TV. When asked about alleged telephone calls made from Holly's phone, the TBI director said he was not going to comment.

If Holly was indeed abducted by someone, finding her in that area and anywhere within about twenty miles in any direction would be like searching for a needle in a haystack. That particular part of West Tennessee is heavily wooded in places and cleared farm fields are interspersed with wooded areas. Two major roads run through the area - I-40 lies about 12 miles to the north while US 412/TN 20 is just south of the Bobo home a little over three miles. US 412 connects with I-40 just east of Jackson and continues on into Middle Tennessee to Columbia. TN 100 joins US 412 east of Parsons and continues on to Nashville. US 641/TN 69 comes up from the south and continues north through Benton and Henry Counties north into the Purchase Region of Kentucky. The Bobo home is located on Swan Johnson Road, which connects with a series of backroads which lead either north into Benton County west of Holladay along Bible Hill Road or west into Natchez Trace State Park which is less than five miles away. Access onto I-40 is only available in Natchez Trace Park and at the US641/TN69 intersection south of Holladay. A series of roads bearing generally to the east connect with US 641/TN 69 near the community of Jeanette while roads going south intersect USW 412/TN 20. There are literally hundreds of places all up and down the Tennessee River for twenty miles either side where a person could be hidden. There are dozens of lakes - including two right across the road from the Bobo home - where a body could be placed while the Tennessee River, one of the major American rivers, is only a few miles to the east and runs the width of the state from the Alabama/Mississippi line into Kentucky and on to the Ohio.

As to why she might have been abducted, all one has to do is look at one of the many pictures that have been posted of her to see why. She is a truly beautiful young woman with movie-star looks, the kind of person who will stand out in a crowd and attract attention. That is why I was somewhat amazed when law enforcement was claiming that she the abductor had to be someone local. While she had graduated from high school in Parsons and was taking classes at the state technical school there, she had previously attended classes at Jackson State in Jackson, Tennessee. She no doubt had shopped at the malls in Jackson as well as at the Walmart in Lexington and Camden, and perhaps even at the one in Huntingdon or even Milan, which draws customers from all over the region. She is also reported to have been heavily involved with horses, and had evidently participated in horse events around the area. West Tennessee has a history of saddle clubs and "horse shows" which are the regions answer to western rodeos dating back to the 1950s. As far as the term "local" goes, I was surprised that the Decatur County Sheriff and TBI didn't recognize that the county is popular with deer, turkey and squirrel hunters from as far away as Jackson and Milan.

The "how" as to her possible abduction is very simple. All a person had to do was appear in the yard, perhaps pretending to be a turkey hunter asking for directions, and engage her in conversation until he got close enough to grab her by the arm. Holly is petite, only 5'3" and 110 pounds. The individual may very well have been carrying a shotgun. The TBI has stated that she probably was "in fear for her life," and no doubt with good reason. It could very well have been someone she recognized but then again it may have been a complete stranger. There are unsubstantiated rumors that she had an estranged former boyfriend and had taken out a restraining order against him.

On the Monday after Holly disappeared, the Jackson Sun in Jackson posted an article on their Facebook page and web site from the City of Jackson Police Blotter. A 39-year old individual, a registered sex offender, by the name of Jason Everett Nickell was charged in court that day, April 18, with stalking two different 19-year old coeds from Union University in Jackson. The stalkings took place the week before Holly's disappearance and he had been picked up the weekend after Holly disappeared. Although the article did not mention Nickell in conjunction with the Bobo case - and no mention has been made in the media - Nickell's address caught the attention of many who had been watching the case and are familiar with the area. Nickell's address is in Holladay Community, which lies about 12 miles north of the Bobo home. His actual address is about three miles out of town, not far from where Bible Hill Road adjoins TN 192 in Holladay. A search revealed that he had been convicted (or pled guilty) to two counts of Indeceny with a Minor in August, 1995. One count was indecency by exposure. In Tennessee, Indecency with a Minor includes several different acts with a person, other than the individual's spouse, who is under the age of 18. The April 18 charges are for stalking, which is a Class A Misdemeanor or a Class E Felony under certain circumstances under the Tennessee Criminal Code. Nickell was originally placed under a $75,000 bond but his bond was raised to $300,000 a few days later. If there is one thing for certain about Nickell, it is that he was focusing on women Holly's age. Both of the women in Jackson were 19. Although it is very sparce, Nickell has a Facebook page. There is only one photo on it, and it shows him on horseback, which raises a question - had he become acquainted with Holly at a horse event? Contrary to assertions, the TBI has issued no release regarding Nickell. All that has been said, first by the Decatur Co. sheriff, is that there is "no connection" which means only that Nickell was not arrested in connection with Holly Bobo's disappearance. A TBI release describing a suspect fits Nickell's description - 6' tall and 210 pounds. Nickell was also wanted in conjunction with an attempted kidnapping in the Middle Tennessee town of Dickson that occurred about the same time as the Jackson incidents, and the victim picked him out of a police line-up. The color of the car was even the same as the one he used in Jackson. He was never charged because he was able to come up an alibi.

Few seem to be aware of it, but Holly Bobo's disappearance is not the first involving a woman or teenager in West Tennessee, most of which were within 35 miles of the Bobo home. There have actually been a number of disappearances going back to the 1980s when a child went missing from Union City. Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s a young woman disappeared in the Hopewell Community in Carroll County. Several years later a woman's body was discovered in an embayment off of the Tennessee River and was identified as hers. The TBI reported that the body had only been in the water for a short time. No one has ever been charged in the disappearance. In 1996 a 14-year old girl in Milan disappeared. Cayce McDaniel has never been found. Sometime around 2000 a young woman from Big Buck Community in Carroll County who worked at a dairy bar in Trezevant was found murdered in her home. A suspect was arrested and reportedly confessed, but then died mysteriously of a reported heart attack in the Carroll County jail before the case went to trial and any evidence was never presented to a jury. In October, 2004 Janie Sue Grooms-Lindsey, who was in her early fifties, went missing after having last been seen at the gas station at Walmart in Huntingdon. She has never been found. In January, 2008 remains were found in a creek near Atwood that were believed to be those of 34-year old Janessa Lindsey, who was Janie Lindsey's sister-in-law. She had been missing since October, 2007. A teenager is missing from Jackson. In 2007 the body of a young Lexington woman was found in Beech River, evidently a murder victim. Another young woman was murdered by her future in-laws in Clifton and buried on their property until her remains were found by a cadaver dog. Interestingly, TBI Agent John Mehr, who is handling the Holly Bobo case, was involved in some of these cases.

Where is Holly Bobo? She disappeared four weeks ago today and little information has been released. In fact, all that is really known is that she is missing. Although law enforcement personnel are still no doubt engaged in an active search, no information has been released other than that a number of leads are being following and they are "hoping for a positive outcome."

I was going to leave my comments as they are, but then today I looked at the Parsons Forum on and became thoroughly disgusted. Nothing but crap had been appearing on Twitter tweets and on Facebook so I went there to find out what the locals might be saying the local forum. But there is no "local" forum. Instead, there are all kinds of speculative posts from people who don't seem to have any life from everywhere BUT local! Of more than 5,000 posts in one thread I went through over 1,000 of them and found that 90% were from people who aren't anywhere within 100 miles of Decatur County and the majority are from out of state. People are pointing fingers at "possible suspects" and even going so far as to give the person's name. The most prolific posters are all out of the area; one in particular is from Goshen, Indiana (which is east of Chicago) and another is in California - at least she claims she owns a cabin in Maury County, over in Middle Tennessee south of Nashville. Today MSNBC put out an article on their web site with the headline "Authorities Close to Cracking Case" when the article says just the opposite. This whole thing has turned into an Internet circus. It reminds of when Floyd Collins was trapped in Crystal Cave in Central Kentucky and a huge crowd gathered to gawk and sell their wares.

GOD HELP THE BOBO FAMILY! I hope Holly turns up safe and sound but it's been over a month now and her situation is very doubtful. She'll probably join the list of other West Tennessee women who have gone missing and either have never been found or their remains turned up months or years later.

May 19, 2011 - Last Updated May 3, 2014

Why polygraph testing doesn't work.
Why criminal "profiling" is mainly guesswork.

Claims made by "psychics" in criminal cases are false. (Not a single case has ever been solved based on information provided by a "psychic."

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