Facts About The Murder Of Holly Bobo

In 2011, Holly Bobo was a 20-year-old woman living in Darden, Tennessee. She was a nursing student who lived with her parents and had a pretty normal life - until the morning of April 13th, when she disappeared. The disappearance of Holly Bobo took another turn when hunters found her in the woods four years later, prompting a series of arrests that took years to answer the question: “Who killed Holly Bobo?”

Finally, in 2017, the first person was convicted, and the perpetrator's brother accepted a plea deal in 2018. Seven years after her initial disappearance, the unsolved case was closed, Holly's body was laid to rest.

Before peace and justice were served to the Bobo family, there was an unusually long interval of time in which rumors and speculation abounded. The strange events surrounding Bobo’s disappearance and demise led to controversy and dissatisfaction with what locals considered a police force in over its head with a grisly investigation. The way the case dragged on, it seemed unlikely that the conclusion would satisfy everyone. 

Despite the still-tragic and painfully long ending to the case, the Bobo family now has some closure as the guilty parties received jail time.

Photo: bill.showalter / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

  • Who Was Holly Bobo Talking To Before She Disappeared?

    The timeline surrounding Holly's disappearance begins on the morning of April 13, 2011, with Holly's brother, Clint, seeing her outside talking with someone he assumed to be her boyfriend, Drew Scott. Clint said that it looked like they were kneeling down and having a heated argument, with the man he thought was Drew doing most of the talking. Clint recalled: "The only words I could make out from here were Holly saying, 'No, why?'"

    Clint and Holly's mother, Karen, called during the argument. When she heard what was happening, she said, "Clint, that's not Drew... shoot him." Clint thought his mother was confused and didn't want to shoot anyone. 

  • Six Men Were Suspects

    After Holly Bobo's disappearance, Tennessee police struggled to find any reliable leads. Over the course of the investigation, though, they got more than one.

    A total of five men were all eventually accused of being connected to or involved in Bobo's disappearance: Zach Adams, his brother Dylan Adams, Jason Autry, and brothers Jeffrey and Mark Pearcy. At first, a lack of viable evidence made prosecution difficult for police. A sixth man, Shayne Austin, also led police to believe that he was involved in Bobo's disappearance.

  • What Was In The Bucket?

    "The bucket" was one of the most intriguing aspects of the Holly Bobo case. People were obsessed with knowing what was inside the bucket, which Larry Stone found in the Decatur County woods in 2014. Stone was looking for ginseng when he stumbled upon a human skull. Details about the contents of the bucket weren't immediately released to keep case details private.

    At the trial in September of 2017, Stone testified and revealed the bucket held human body parts. Authorities used the bones to identify Holly Bobo's body, three years after her passing.

  • Jason Autry Testified That He Saw Zach Adams Shoot Bobo Again

    Jason Autry, one of the eventual suspects after Bobo's body was recovered, and later a star witness for the prosecution, claimed he only had a minor role. At the trial in September of 2017, he testified that his buddy Zach Adams - the primary suspect in the case - "[S]howed him a body wrapped in a blanket and identified it as Bobo’s after Autry visited Adams to purchase drugs at a house in rural Tennessee, not far from where Bobo disappeared." He then admitted that he agreed to help dispose of her, after learning who she was. 

    Upon learning the body was Bobo’s, Autry said he agreed to help. According to Autry, Adams planned to “gut her” and “put her in the deep end” of the Tennessee River. But as they rolled her up and put her in the back of Adams's truck, Autry testified that he saw her move and heard her groan. He allegedly tried to tell Zach, but Adams verbally insulted then shot the woman.

  • Zachary Adams's Facebook Had Questionable Posts

    Zachary Adams not only has a history of heavy drug use, but was also involved in the heist of freshwater pearls from the nearby Tennessee Shell Company in Camden. While Adams (who became a prime suspect) was already in custody,  circumstantial evidence appeared online.

    A friend of Bobo's was looking through Adams's Facebook page and discovered a post that was made the same day Holly disappeared: "You know you never was, you stupid whore." The friend then noticed another post that showed Adams dressed in camouflage gear with the caption: "Who am I looking for?" The latter was published when the reward for information on Bobo's disappearance increased. Coincidental, but it wasn't enough evidence to hold him.

  • One Suspect Committed Suicide

    Suspect Shayne Austin landed an immunity deal with the police after he promised to show them the location of Bobo's body. After he failed to lead investigators to the correct place, the deal was withdrawn, and Austin was never formally charged.

    Then, in early 2015, Austin's body was discovered hanging in a Bartow, Florida, hotel room. It's believed that Austin committed suicide, but there's no concrete evidence he had any involvement in the case beyond his odd decision to direct police to an empty patch of land.