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 her brother watched her walk into the woods with a mysterious man wearing camouflage, where she disappeared. The disappearance of Holly Bobo took another turn when hunters found her remains in the woods four years later, prompting a series of arrests that took years to answer the question: “Who killed Holly Bobo?”
The once unsolved murder of Holly Bobo is oddly reminiscent of the type of crimes that were inflicted on young women throughout the '70s and '80s. It’s the kind of crime that feels like it can’t happen anymore now that every space has been explored and geotagged, but this case proves that there are still spaces in the world that aren’t safe - including suburban Tennessee.
Finally, in 2017, the first person was convicted of Bobo's death, and the perpetrator's brother accepted a plea deal in 2018. Seven years after her initial disappearance, Holly's body was laid to rest and the killers were locked up.
Before peace and justice was served to the Bobo family, though, there was an unusually long interval of time in which rumors and theories abounded. The strange events surrounding Bobo’s disappearance and death triggered multiple theories about what really happened - from fantastical stories of a young woman being killed by the government, to simpler stories focusing on a local police force in over its head with a grisly murder investigation. The way this case dragged on, it seemed likely that whatever answer the police produced would never satisfy everyone.
Despite the still-tragic and painfully lengthy ending to the case, the Bobo family now has some kind of closure as the killers remain behind bars for their rest of their lives.
Who Was Holly Bobo Talking To Before She Disappeared?
The timeline surrounding Holly's murder 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?'"
During the argument, Clint and Holly's mother, Karen, called and when she heard what was happening she said, "Clint, that's not Drew. Get a gun and shoot him." Clint thought his mother was confused and didn't want to shoot anyone. Shortly afterward, Clint saw Holly walk into the woods with the man and found a pool of blood near her car.
Six Men Were Suspects In Bobo's Murder, But None Of Them Were Immediately Charged
After Holly Bobo's disappearance and what turned out to be her murder, Tennessee police had a hard time finding any reliable leads to help them find her killer. Over the course of the investigation, though, they've gotten close - but not close enough.
A total of five men were all eventually accused of being connected to or involved in Bobo's disappearance: Zach Adams and his brother Dylan Adams, Jason Autry, and brothers Jeffrey and Mark Pearcy. At first, a lack of viable evidence has made prosecution difficult for police. A sixth man, Shayne Austin, also led police to believe that he was involved in Bobo's disappearance, but no evidence was ever found.
What Was In The Bucket?
"The bucket" was one of the most intriguing aspects of the Holly Bobo case. And if you've even done a cursory amount of research into this mysterious murder, then you know that people were obsessed with discovering what was inside the bucket found by the man who was out hunting for ginseng, but who ended up finding Bobo's body instead. Details about the contents of the bucket weren't immediately released in an attempt to keep some details of the case private, but the man who discovered them, Larry Stone, said that what he found inside was disturbing.
At the trial in September of 2017, Larry Stone testified in tears and finally revealed photos of what was in the bucket: human remains, including teeth and ribs. These were used by authorities to identify Holly Bobo's body, three years after her death.
Jason Autry Testified That He'd Seen Zach Adams Shoot Bobo Again After They Thought She Was Dead
Jason Autry, one of the eventual suspects after Bobo's body was recovered and later a star witness for the prosecution, claimed he'd only been a sidepiece in the murder. At the murder trial in September of 2017, he claimed 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 home 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 dispose of the remains. According to Autry, Adams's plan was 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 Adamns pulled out a pistol, called her an expletive, and shot her.