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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 9:32 am

Suspect accused of killing Holly Bobo due in court

DECATURVILLE, Tenn. (AP) A Tennessee man was to appear in court Tuesday on charges of kidnapping and murdering 20-year-old nursing student Holly Bobo, an indictment that came almost three years after her highly publicized disappearance.

Despite the arrest, there were still a lot of questions. What was the connection between the suspect, Zachary Adams, and Bobo? How did she die? And have authorities found her body?

Adams is scheduled to appear in a Decatur County courtroom Tuesday to be arraigned on charges of especially aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder. He is expected to tell a judge if he can hire a lawyer or if he needs one appointed.

In the days following his arrest, authorities have been tight-lipped about evidence in the investigation, saying only that it is ongoing.

In Parsons, near where Bobo disappeared in West Tennessee, townspeople were looking for closure.

"There's a lot of unanswered questions," said Ronda Philpott, who attended the school where Bobo's mother taught. "At this point in time, it's believed that Holly's deceased and the most important thing now is for her poor family to have some peace."

Prosecutors are considering asking for the death penalty if they get a conviction.

Adams is the only suspect named by authorities since Bobo disappeared on the morning of April 13, 2011, outside her home near Parsons, about 120 miles northeast of Memphis. Her brother told police that he saw a man dressed in camouflage leading her away into the woods.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, local law enforcement and privately-hired search teams have looked for Bobo over the years. Relatives and friends held out hope that Bobo would be found alive like Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped and held captive for nine months when she was 14 in Utah. Smart even spoke at Bobo's high school in August 2012.

As searchers scoured thick woods, old barns and open fields, townspeople adorned light poles, mailboxes and storefronts with pink bows because Bobo was last seen wearing a pink shirt and carrying a pink purse. Posters announcing a reward could be found throughout Tennessee and in other states, too.

Attention in the case was revived about two weeks ago, when authorities searched property near Adams' home in the Holladay community, about 15 miles from Bobo's home. Adams was arrested on a separate aggravated assault charge before his indictment March 5.

Before he was charged with Bobo's murder, Adams told The Jackson Sun "I'm not the one."

Adams has a list of prior charges in several West Tennessee jurisdictions, including driving without a license, disorderly conduct, probation violation, drug possession and assault. Records show he served six months in jail for shooting his mother in the knee in 2004 with a handgun. In court documents in that case, his stepfather Joseph King said his family feared for their lives.

"He shot his mother point blank ... and is a danger to us and the community and our relatives," King wrote.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn did not say during last week's news conference whether Adams knew Bobo. But throughout the investigation, community members worried that the person who took Bobo lived in the area. Parents feared leaving their teenage children unsupervised and residents locked their doors, Philpott said.

Bobo's family said in a statement after the charges were announced that their faith will give them the strength to see them through the ordeal.

"In the recent days, it feels like everything has come against our hope and it seems that all our trust was shattered," the statement said.