NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A man was charged Wednesday with kidnapping and killing a nursing student who was last seen outside her West Tennessee home nearly three years ago, investigators said.
Holly Bobo was 20 when she disappeared on April 13, 2011. Her brother told authorities he saw a man in hunting clothes leading her into the woods around the family home near Parsons, about 100 miles northeast of Memphis.
Last week, investigators in the case searched the home of 29-year-old Zachary Adams and he was arrested in an unrelated aggravated assault case Friday.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation director Mark Gwyn on Wednesday announced the grand jury indictment against Adams in Bobo’s disappearance.
Gwyn would not say what kind of evidence was found during the search or whether authorities have recovered any remains. Adams’ home in the Holladay community is about 15 miles from Bobo’s home, where she was last seen.
Adams was in custody with no bond set. Gwyn did not rule out the possibility of other arrests in the case and said the investigation in continuing.
Gwyn said someone from the TBI spoke with the Bobo family before the indictment was announced at a news conference.
“Obviously, they’re devastated,” Gwyn said.
Asked about the basis for the charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and first-degree felony murder, District Attorney General Hansel McCadams said, “We believe we can prove that she was taken forcefully from her home without her consent.”
“Based on the evidence that we have before us, we also feel that she was killed in the perpetration of that kidnapping,” McAdams said.
McCadams said he would consider pursuing the death penalty if Adams is convicted.
Adams was indicted during a specially called session of the grand jury and his arraignment is set for Tuesday. He will tell a judge at that time whether he can afford to hire a lawyer or if he needs one to be appointed.
After Bobo’s disappearance, investigators and volunteers scoured the town of about 2,400 people and the surrounding terrain where cow pastures, old barns, thick woods, flowery fields and dusty back roads comprise the landscape. Residents adorned mailboxes, lamp posts and store fronts with pink bows, as a sign of hope and solidarity with the family. Pink became the color associated with Bobo because she was wearing a pink shirt and carrying a pink purse when she disappeared.
Bobo family friend Kelly Allen said she always held out hope that Holly was alive.
“I have really mixed emotions,” said Allen, contacted by phone at her business, Parsons Florist, after the news conference. “I’m mad, I’m upset, I’m grieving for the family and friends and the whole community.”
Corinth Baptist Church pastor Don Franks said before the news conference that he was with the family. At the time he spoke to The Associated Press, he said the TBI had not informed them about what would be said at the news conference.
He said the family has been relying on their faith to get through the ordeal and that will continue.
“They just need prayers. It’s a very emotional time for them,” he said.
Sainz reported from Memphis, Tenn.