John Robinson, the preacher at Bogota Church of Christ, made the discovery along with his friend, Mark Rickman, on Saturday as they were leaving Bledsoe Cemetery (off Harness Road) around noon.
"At least they can quit looking for her and start looking for somebody," said Robinson.
"We noticed a body part from a distance and the closer I got, you could tell it was a body," said Robinson.
The men walked closer until they were positive what they were seeing was indeed a body. Robinson said he and Rickman knew about the missing-person case of Karen Swift and that immediately came to mind.
The men reportedly did not disturb the body and immediately left and notified the sheriff's department about what they had found. Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box, sheriff's investigators, TBI agents and others involved in the case immediately arrived at the location off of Harness Road and began processing the crime scene.
The body was sent to the Shelby County Medical Examiner's Office where it was positively identified the next day as being Karen Swift. Box stated on Monday the body had been concealed by undergrowth and vegetation.
Robinson said he has travels that road to the cemetery probably every two weeks and said the recent low temperatures and frosts had caused the kudzu to wilt, thus revealing the body.
"It was kind of like hiding in plain sight," said Robinson.
He was not able to determine if Swift's body had any clothing because he did not get close enough, but only saw what he believed was skin. He also noted he did not see her face because her head was facing away from his location.
"We didn't get within 20 feet of (the body)," said Robinson.
He added the body was just lying in the kudzu and dismissed the rumor someone tried to bury her.
"There wasn't any shallow grave or none of that business," said Robinson.
Box stated due to Swift's body being placed and concealed in the area and apparent injuries the case is moving forward as a murder investigation. He and investigators feel someone placed the body at the location, but will not be able to confirm this until the medical examiner's report comes in. He expects a full report sometime within the next week to determine a definite cause of death.
Box noted the area where Robinson and Rickman found the body had not been part of their plotted searches.
"In the exact area where the body was found, there were no organized grid searches," said Box. "There had been numerous people in the area and none of those people saw the body. Because the kudzu was grown over, nobody could see her."
Mary Claire Hopper knew Swift and was saddened when she heard the news the body was hers.
"I am deeply saddened by the loss of a friend, but glad that they found Karen," said Hopper. "She deserves a proper burial, and those who loved her also deserve a chance to celebrate her life at her funeral."
Box said they are staying focused on the homicide investigation and will continue to show an increased presence in the area where Swift went missing.
"We hope to apprehend the person responsible for this as soon as possible, and meanwhile we will have an extra watch posted in these areas," said Box.
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.