Sheriff's Dept. intensifies search with aid of THP Strike Teams, potential evidence found

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Members of the Dyer County Sheriff's Department, two Tennessee Highway Patrol Strike Teams, and Shelby County Sheriff's Department search-and-rescue personnel line up along Millsfield Highway before searching the area on Friday morning.

Over the past several days, the search for Karen Johnson Swift intensified as searchers covered portions of Dyer County from the air, on land, and over water.

Close to 30 personnel from the Dyer County Sheriff's Dept., Tennessee Highway Patrol Strike Teams, a THP helicopter, the Dyer County Rescue Squad, and members of the Shelby County Sheriff's Dept. took part in the recent searches across the county.

On Friday morning, the officers formed a line along the Millsfield Highway and Harness Road intersection and walked west, combing woods, fields, ditches and thickets of overgrown brush. They covered the area where Swift's SUV was found and areas around her residence on Willie Johnson Road.

Keeping a tight formation, the search party for evidence in the Karen Johnson Swift case descends into a tree line.

Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box organized the search and said they were going back over the area more carefully and searching for even the tiniest bit of evidence that could be connected to Swift's disappearance.

Roughly 30 minutes into their search, Box stated Strike Team members had found evidence in an overgrown area believed to be connected to Swift.

"We will have to wait for the results to come back," said Box.

Investigators and a TBI agent were called to the scene and the evidence was collected.

Box would not release exactly what was found, but said there was a possible connection.

"We are searching for anything of interest," said Box. "And we are still inspecting other potential evidence, which we have recovered."

He noted that portions of the Obion River and the Mississippi River were searched on Saturday in hopes of recovering more new evidence in the case.

Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box (right) and Investigator Calvin Johnson (left) go over information on the Karen Johnson Swift case during Friday's search of the Millsfield area.
Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Don Despain shows members of the THP's Strike Teams a layout of the land in the Millsfield area before their search on Friday morning.

"We have expanded our search for evidence to bodies of water," said Box.

Investigators continue to interview people and they are going over potential evidence they have collected in their attempt to solve Swift's disappearance.

"We are doing everything we can," said Box.

Box stated they are also waiting for the results from Swift's vehicle to come back from the TBI's forensic lab in Nashville.

Saturday marked day seven of the investigation and Box said they are still treating the case as a missing person case.

"Until we find evidence or something leads us down another path, that is how we have to treat it," said Box.

Swift, a 44-year-old mother of four was last seen early Sunday morning, Oct. 30, by her husband at their home on Willie Johnson Road after she reportedly returned from a Halloween party. Her white 2004 Nissan Murano was later found on Sunday on Millsfield Highway near the intersection of Harness Road with a flat tire.

Karen Johnson Swift is described as:

Age: 44

A prayer vigil was held at the YMCA soccer field on Friday evening to pray for Karen Swift's safe return. First Christian Church Associate Pastor Jerry Mitchell led the service, which was organized by friends of Swift. Mitchell encouraged everyone to pray for Karen's return as well as for support and strength for her family. Karen Swift disappeared in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 30
A Strike Team member of the Tennessee Highway Patrol wades through an overgrowth of weeds and saplings in the search for Karen Johnson Swift.

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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  • Is it just another strange coincidence with the Jacque Waller case (not including both women are pretty blonde women, both have young children, both were last seen by estranged husbands, both had vehicles found abandoned on the side of the road with flat tires) that evidence was discovered on the side of the highways on the same day? WEIRD!

    -- Posted by Catbert on Fri, Nov 4, 2011, at 10:22 PM
  • Mrs. Swift and her family are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray for your safe return..

    -- Posted by Colie on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 11:51 AM
  • I'm sure the authorities have questioned her husband, esp. if they're separated. That is almost always the first person they suspect and center in on, simply b/c so many times they are found to be the guilty party. Now I'm not saying that's the case here...

    -- Posted by Dude2010 on Sat, Nov 5, 2011, at 12:47 PM
  • Your family in Arkansas is praying for you! May GOD Bless you to return safely back home to your family!

    -- Posted by UrFamNar on Mon, Nov 7, 2011, at 4:25 AM
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