Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box stated the body, which was found on Saturday, was able to be identified as Swift's through her dental records, which were sent along with her body to the medical examiner's office in Memphis.
Swift's body had reportedly been concealed in an area off of Harness Road until someone discovered it on Saturday. Box said the body had been concealed by undergrowth and vegetation for some time close to Bledsoe Cemetery, which lies off of Harness Road. The location where her body was found is approximately three miles northwest from where Swift's 2004 Nissan Murano was found abandoned with a reported flat tire at the intersection of Millsfield Highway and Harness Road on Sunday, Oct. 30.
"Due to her body being placed and concealed in the area that it was recovered from and apparent injuries to her body it has been ruled a homicide," said Box in an interview with the State Gazette. "We are currently awaiting results of an autopsy from the medical examiner's office in Memphis to determine the cause of death."
The body was found in a place that is normally covered in kudzu, approximately 100 yards from a tall metal cross that sits high on a bluff. The cross is visible looking south from Highway 78, close to the Obion River Bridge.
Authorities attribute recent cold-weather conditions for suppressing and deadening the undergrowth that had Swift's body concealed from view.
Since Swift's disappearance, the sheriff's department has been gathering potential evidence, interviewing people, and performing searches in an attempt to find her or her body and determine if there was foul play involved.
Authorities are not naming any suspects in the case, nor are they releasing any information about how the body was discovered due to it being an ongoing murder investigation.
"We will continue to move forward with the homicide investigation," said Box.
"We are all very sad and are going to miss her so much," said Bona in a written statement. "We pray that God gives the law enforcement guidance and all the information they need to get justice for her!!!"
Bona and others that knew Swift had ruled out the scenario that Swift had run away, citing the love of her children, future plans, and payment for recent work done for Habitat for Humanity (see Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, edition of the State Gazette).
Swift was reported missing on Sunday, Oct. 30, when her 2004 Nissan Murano was discovered near the intersection of Harness Road and Millsfield Highway with a flat tire. She had filed for divorce from her husband, David Swift, on Oct. 10, but still resided with him and their two daughters at their residence on Willie Johnson Road.
Karen Swift had been to a Halloween party at the Dyersburg Country Club-The Farms on the Saturday evening, Oct. 29. She reportedly arrived home sometime after midnight after picking up one of her daughters from a sleepover because she did not feel well. Box stated David Swift allegedly spoke with Karen Swift briefly in the stairwell after she and the child were inside the house. Authorities allege David Swift told them he awoke the next morning (Sunday, Oct. 30) and could not find his wife and tried calling her cell phone with no answer. Soon afterward, a neighbor called David Swift to tell him Karen Swift's SUV was on Millsfield Highway. He is then alleged to have called one of their sons in Arkansas to see if he could reach Karen Swift, but to no avail. David Swift is then reported to have called some of Karen Swift's friends to see if they had seen her.
At 2:37 p.m., a friend of Karen Swift's called the Dyer County Sheriff's Department and notified them she was missing and the dispatcher advised her that David Swift should call and give details. He is then reported to have called the sheriff's department and given them details about what was going on. Soon after, deputies arrived and discovered the SUV had a flat tire. They searched the Swift residence and later impounded the vehicle.
On Monday, Oct. 30, Box along with other officers and a K-9 unit from Fort Pillow Penitentiary searched the area around Swift's house and where the vehicle was found.
Throughout the rest of the week, officers searched the area for Swift and potential evidence in the case and her vehicle was sent to the TBI's crime lab in Nashville for processing. 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 searches across the county.
THP Strike Team members and others found potential evidence, believed to be connected to Swift, during numerous searches. Box would not release what was found.
Dyer County Sheriff's Dept. Chief Investigator Terry McCreight said due to the nature of Hogshooter's case and the proximity to the Swifts' residence they had to look at him as part of their investigation into her disappearance. As a result, Hogshooter's vehicle was temporarily impounded and investigators searched his Harness Road residence.
McCreight said Hogshooter's vehicle was released back to him and no noteworthy evidence was found during their search at the time.
On Thursday, Nov. 10, as part of the Dyer County Sheriff's Department's investigation into Swift's disappearance, the TBI's Violent Crimes Response Team was at her Willie Johnson Road residence processing potential evidence. TBI spokesperson Kristin Helm stated Special Agent Forensic Scientists out of the Memphis crime lab responded to the Swift residence to look for evidence of a crime scene. They are specially trained to look for trace evidence that could be collected and processed back at the laboratory.
Searches in the area of Swift's home and other parts of Dyer County were performed by multiple agencies throughout the next month until her body was found on Saturday.
The Dyer County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are jointly investigating Swift's death.
The Dyer County Sheriff's Office requests that any person with information about this case contact the Dyer County Sheriff's Office at 731-285-2802 or call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.