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Search continues for missing woman

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A stop sign on Harness Road holds a flyer of Swift.
The search for Karen Johnson Swift entered its third day on Tuesday as Dyer County Sheriff's deputies, Sheriff Jeff Box, TBI agents, the Tennessee Highway Patrol and members of the FBI's Violent Crimes Task Force patrolled the area in hopes of finding the missing woman.

Swift, a 44-year-old mother of four, was reported missing on Sunday and was last seen early Sunday morning by her husband at their home on Willie Johnson Road. Her white 2004 Nissan Murano was later found on Millsfield Highway near the intersection of Harness Road with a flat tire.

On Tuesday around 4 a.m., Box flew aboard a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter equipped with a heat-sensing Flir unit. Box and the pilot performed an aerial search with sheriff's investigators and TBI agents on the ground.

"The heat-seeking unit in the chopper works best when there is very little sunlight or heat from the sun," said Box. "We started checking the last known areas where she may have been. Around her house, vehicle and other areas of interest. At daylight we began a more visual search with a chopper."

A large crowd gathers at the YMCA soccer field in downtown Dyersburg on Tuesday evening for a candlelight vigil in support of Karen Johnson Swift.
Box stated that Swift's cell phone has not been found and they did a visual search of the area where she last had cell phone activity.

Swift's vehicle was impounded on Sunday and was shipped to the TBI's crime lab in Nashville on Tuesday to have forensic processing performed on it.

"Maybe they will be able to tell us something about what happened," said Box.

On Tuesday afternoon, sheriff's investigators confined their search to an area at the end of Willie Johnson Road. They located some unidentified tire tracks in that area and took a molding of them.

Right: Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box and other law enforcement authorities focused their search for Karen Swift at the end of Willie Johnson Road on Tuesday afternoon. Swift was reported missing on Sunday and her vehicle was found on Millsfield Highway with a flat tire. An aerial search of the area was performed Tuesday morning with a THP helicopter equipped with a heat-sensing unit.
Box said the investigation is still being treated as a missing person case and there have not been any signs of foul play at this time.

"We are doing what we should be doing," said Box. "We are treating this as a missing person and looking for evidence. So far, nothing has been recovered to lead us to believe foul play is involved."

Box added the community is reaching out and offering to help in the search by putting up flyers and talking to people. He added the sharing of information is the best thing at this point from the community.

"I know there are a lot of friends that feel like they need to do something and they can help by getting any information or forwarding information about anybody she had been around or any new acquaintances."

He said people are calling his office and want to help search for Swift, but Box said they are not at the point where a large-scale search would be helpful.

Yellow marker flags signify the unidentified tracks down a dirt road in the search area. Investigators took moldings of the tracks as part of the investigation.
Dyer County Sheriff's investigators Calvin Johnson (left) and Terry McCreight (right) and other personnel head in after their search off of Willie Johnson Road on Tuesday.
"We are documenting those people in the event there needs to be any type of large ground search," said Box. "Right now you don't want to put untrained personnel in the area that could damage, lose or overlook potential evidence."

Box noted they have flyers with Swift's photo and information available at the sheriff's department to people needing any to distribute.

On Tuesday evening a candlelight vigil was held at the soccer field at the YMCA in downtown Dyersburg. Around 100 people showed up to pray and show their support for Swift.

Diane Moore, who did not know Swift, was one of those who attended the vigil and prayed.

"I just can't get her off of my mind," said Moore. "I thought I needed to come and pray with them. It is just terrible this would happen here in Dyer County, whatever has happened. I just felt like I needed to be here."

Box said they would continue their search on Wednesday and see if any new information or evidence turns up.

Sgt. Danny Petrie works his K-9 unit, Joker, along a fencerow in the search area.
"We are still looking for any information and any evidence that might locate Swift's whereabouts or recovery," said Box.

Karen Johnson Swift is described as:

Age: 44

Race: White

DOB: 1/25/67

Hair: Blonde

Eyes: Green

Height: 5' 5"

Weight 138 lbs.

Anyone who has had contact with Swift, recalls seeing anyone near her vehicle since her disappearance, or has information regarding her whereabouts is asked to contact the Dyer County Sheriff's Office at 731-285-2802.

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Good job every one with all this searching , prayerfully she will be found safe! My prayers are with you all .!

-- Posted by chief_ty20 on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 9:31 AM

Good job! Keep it up till you find out what happened to her. I suspect fowl play! A mother wouldn't just up and leave her children at 1:30 Sunday morning!

-- Posted by ohsolma on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 1:35 PM

u right oh. sounds like she up and left... Drop ur children off at 1:30 a.m. then vanish?... hope she is found safe, but it doesn't sound like she was abducted. Those choppers usually pick up something to give a lead on.

-- Posted by DMASE on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 1:58 PM

This reminds me so much of the Holly bobo case... Not sure why just does. I pray for this lady and her family!! Something cant be right if she hasnt contacted anyone over this time spread. I'm sure it's because she has not wanted because any mother who was able would want to talk to their kids!

-- Posted by brandyru on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 2:22 PM

There are some shady things being said about a group of her friend that are "respected" citizens from good ole' Dyersburg, that ...would make the members of another well rumored group blush.

-- Posted by Eleda on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 8:14 PM

Eleda, you just said absolutely nothing. Whoever you are, you are a carbon copy of what's wrong with alot of people in Dyersburg. Trying to start something with nothing. lol

-- Posted by raspberrie on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 9:45 PM

To the children, husband and all who love Karen: Our hearts and prayers are with you during this difficult time. So many people are praying for her safe return and I hope you can find peace while you wait for the law inforcement parties to do what they do and bring her home to you.

-- Posted by raspberrie on Wed, Nov 2, 2011, at 9:48 PM

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Karen Swift search, Nov. 19, 2011