Sheriff's dept. provides update on search for Swift
The search this past weekend for Karen Swift was composed of search personnel from the Dyer County Sheriff's Dept, the Dyer County Fire Dept., area rescue squads, and some volunteers from the community. Many locations in the county were searched, including the Obion River and the Whites Lake Area. The Obion River at Hwy. 78 is about 5 miles from the location Swift's car was found at. According to Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box, this proximity would make it a convenient place to discard or conceal evidence. Sheriff Box stated that is one reason they determined it to be an area of interest that needed to be searched, just as local lakes and wooded areas near Swift's car and her home.
Sheriff Box also noted that cell phone records show the last known activity from Swift's cell phone was at 5 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2011. That activity from her phone was reported to have been an automatic Internet access by the phone itself and not by an individual. The access was only detected by one cell phone tower, which made it impossible for the cellular providers to provide law enforcement with a precise location that can be triangulated when a phone has access on multiple towers. Cellular providers did give approximate coordinates and the distance of Swift's phone from the cell tower. The coordinates given and the actual distance to the cell tower are not the same, indicating to investigators that the information provided to them could be inaccurate. This caused investigators to request more detailed technical data from cellular providers and technicians.
Sheriff Box advised that investigators questioned the data that was provided, but they have thoroughly searched the locations and added other areas of interest into their search. These areas are within the range limits of the reporting sector antenna and of equal distance from the cellular tower as the distance reported during the 5 a.m. activity from Swift's phone.
Other locations in Dyer County, which are of equal distance of the phone activity to the cell phone tower, have been deemed as areas of interest and searched during the investigation are:
1. Location where Karen Swift's car was found on Millsfield Highway
2. Karen Swift's home on Willie Johnson Road
3. The Obion River on Highway 78
4. The Whites Lake area in western Dyer County
The Dyer County Sheriff's Office has currently recovered many items of potential evidence. They are not disclosing every item of evidence, which is normal in an active investigation.
Sheriff Box advised his department is conducting this missing person case as a criminal investigation with foul play involved, just as if they have a criminal suspect and will continue doing that unless foul play is ruled out. He also stated it is always critical to an investigation that they control when a potential suspect becomes aware of the evidence they hold against him or her. And by holding the evidence close to an investigation helps prevent potential suspects from being able to impede the investigation by developing false alibis, statements or destroying forensic evidence to avoid prosecution.
Sheriff Box stated the sheriff's office will maintain control of the investigation along with the assistance of the T.B.I. and continue to use every assisting agency and resource available to answer more questions about Swift's disappearance.
"If any evidence we hold could assist in locating Swift we would immediately release this item to the media or the public as we released photos of her car parked in the location it was found in hopes of receiving new information," said Box. "We will not release any information about any evidence found just to satisfy the curiosity and in no way will we take part of or participate in any press release that would exploit her or her family. We will not make any assumptions, or statements about this case, name persons of interest and suspects unless it is backed up by evidence and only then if it will be beneficial to this investigation."
In the above listed areas we have used the following resources to conduct the many searches of these areas:
. Dyer County Sheriff's Deputies, Sheriff's Investigators, Sheriff's Tracking Team
. Tennessee Highway Patrol Strike Teams, Aviation Unit, Cert Team, and many additional troopers.
. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Special Agents, Crime Scene Unit, and Crime Lab.
. Tennessee Department of Corrections Fort Pillow Bloodhound Unit
. Lauderdale County Sheriff's Bloodhound Unit
. Scott County Missouri Sheriff's Search and Rescue Dogs including Cadaver Dogs
. Shelby County Tennessee Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit with Dogs including Cadaver Dogs
. Dyer, Lake, Obion, Lauderdale, Gibson, and Henry County Rescue Squads with boats, sonar and drag equipment.
. Dyer County, Millsfield, Bogota, Lenox, Bonicord and Finley Fire Dept's.
. Dyer County Emergency Management
. Personnel on horseback and many other local volunteers.
Sheriff's investigators are currently examining evidence they have collected in the case, as well as lab reports in order to provide them with more answers. They are still asking that anyone with information about Swift's disappearance to contact the Dyer County Sheriff's Department at 731-285-2802. Crime Stoppers of Dyer County is offering a cash reward for information that would lead to an arrest and conviction in this case, callers can reach Crime Stoppers at 731-285-TIPS (8477).