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 theories abounded. The strange events surrounding Bobo’s disappearance and demise triggered multiple theories about what really happened - from fantastical tales of a young woman being targeted by the government, to more straightforward stories focusing on a local 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.
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 distressing theory suggested Karen, Holly Bobo's mother, knew who was guilty but stayed quiet. According to Clint Bobo, he spoke to their mother on the phone the morning Holly was led into the woods. Reportedly, she told him to shoot the man talking to Holly.
Redditors theorize she wouldn't tell her son to shoot the man unless she knew who he was and what he would do.
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.
Jeff and Mark Pearcy faced arrests after Jeff's roommate claimed the brothers had a cell phone video of an unknown assailant sexually assaulting Holly. The video was never recovered, so police charged the brothers with tampering with evidence and being accessories after the fact.
In October 2014, the TBI dropped charges due to lack of evidence.