Police launched murder probe after body of Karen Swift, who vanished on Halloween night, was found
Police in Dyer County, Tennessee, have launched a murder investigation after the body of mother-of-four Karen Swift, who vanished after Halloween party, was found.
Karen Swift’s body was found among bushes and undergrowth near a cemetery just two miles from her home
Investigators are currently giving no details about how she was murdered and no suspects have been named.
Karen Swift, 44, was last seen outside her home on October 30 at 1:30 a.m. after returning from a Halloween party.
Twenty days before her disappearance, Karen Swift had filed for divorce from her husband David, citing irreconcilable differences, myfoxmemphis.com reports.
According to court documents, the couple seemed to agree on a custody arrangement and child support payments while they were still living together.
Karen Swift had two sons in college and two daughters aged seven and nine.
Her body was found on Saturday after the once-green vegetation that had concealed it had thinned due to the cold weather.
The body was identified on Sunday using dental records.
Karen Swift’s car was found about a mile from her home, with a flat tire.
Her father Gary Johnson, 67, last month told ABC she could have got a flat tire and decided to leave the car and walk home when something happened to her.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge John Mehr said the vehicle was searched for evidence but did not say what may have been found.
The timeline of events leaves questions, and a multi-hour window, up for investigation.
Karen Swift attended a Halloween party at the Dyersburg Country Club-The Farms the night before she disappeared, and arrived home to the house she shared with her ex-husband around midnight. She had picked up one of the couples’ daughters from a sleepover since the girl was not feeling well.
The State Gazette reports that Karen Swift and her husband David bumped into each other on the stairs when she came home; making that the last time anyone reported seeing her.
The next morning, Karen Swift was not in the house so David called her cell phone and got no answer. A neighbor then called David to tell him that her abandoned car was sitting off the side of a small nearby highway.
David Swift then reportedly made several calls trying to ascertain Karen’s whereabouts: he called one of their older sons, who was at college in Arkansas, he called some of Karen’s friends, all of whom had no clues.
It was one of Karen Swift’s friends who called the police department to report her missing at 2:37 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and not David. The police then told the friend to have David call them and he did so.
The following search included crime lab specialists, K9 teams and ground crews searching the rivers and lakes surrounding the area where Karen Swift’s car was found.
There was one initial clue that gave an inkling of hope but ended up being a tangential issue.
A week after Karen Swift disappeared, one of her neighbors was arrested for aggravated animal cruelty.
The aptly-named John Hogshooter, 39, was arrested after allegedly poisoning two local dogs, one of which belonged to the Swifts.
Given the disturbing nature of his crimes and proximity to the Swifts house, his car and home were searched for clues relating to Karen’s disappearance but was ruled out as a suspect shortly after the investigators found nothing relating him to her case.
Karen Swift’s brother Jeffrey Johnson said the young daughters were “in shock” with their mother gone.
David Swift’s lawyer Timothy Naifeh said: “It’s very emotional for Mr. Swift and the family.
“They’re asking at least for this period of time to have some privacy – it’s time for grieving and it’s time for mourning.
“It’s heartbreaking and it’s very, very sad.”
Karen Swift’s disappearance prompted a massive ground and aerial search.