Sheriff: Person of interest in Swift case
Although there has been no arrest in the Karen Swift murder investigation, Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box stated he and his investigators have a person of interest and the evidence they have collected is being prepared for a murder trial. He pointed out his department is being assisted by state and federal agencies and they are working diligently to bring Swift's murderer to justice.
"Our investigators have done a very good job in compiling the evidence and we will use all of the results of the investigation and evidence from these agencies, in unison, to see that an arrest and conviction is obtained," said Box.
There have been several persons of interest throughout the course of the investigation, but Box stated they have ruled all of them out, except for one person in particular. He noted the identity of the person is currently being kept confidential since it would not be beneficial to the case to reveal the identity. He emphasized that the person mentioned is a person of interest and not a suspect. And they would not name a suspect until the investigation is complete or an arrest is made.
"If this individual was on the run or if we felt that other persons were in immediate danger, we would have already named this person as a suspect," said Box.
Swift, a 44-year-old mother of four was reportedly last seen early Sunday morning, Oct. 30, 2011, by her husband David Swift at their home on Willie Johnson Road after she had returned there from a Halloween party. Her white 2004 Nissan Murano was later found abandoned that day on Millsfield Highway near the intersection of Harness Road with a flat tire. Her body was found on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, near Bledsoe Cemetery in Dyer County by a cemetery caretaker. An autopsy was performed on Karen Swift's body by the Shelby County Medical Examiner's Office in Memphis and she was buried in Pocahontas, Ark. on Feb. 11.
After her body was found, investigators began investigating the case as a homicide. Box states the investigation is still very active with many agencies involved in the preparation of the evidence for a murder trial. During the course of the investigation, Box estimates between 50 to 100 pieces of evidence have been collected. Investigators have received much of the lab results back, but Box stated they are looking forward to receiving everything back that is needed to prepare this case for trial.
The Tennessee Bureau Investigation forensic lab in Nashville serves all 95 counties in the state and performs a wide range of analyses on collected evidence. Box said the TBI has provided continued assistance in collecting, and processing the forensic lab work for the Swift case and he hopes to get the results in soon.
"I have made additional requests to expedite the processing of the remainder of DNA and forensic evidence that is needed," said Box. "Some of the processing includes not only lab work, but taking the results of the investigation and having it prepared in a courtroom presentation format. "
The Tennessee Highway Patrol Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) was called by the sheriff's department early on in the investigation in an attempt to document evidence-recovery locations and to possibly assist in determining Swift's movements before and during her disappearance. Also, the team is being used to possibly determine how far Swift's vehicle traveled from the time she arrived home in the early morning hours of Oct. 30 until it was found parked on Millsfield Highway. Box stated they are able to obtain this data from known information and sometimes through the collection and interpretation of data from the vehicle's computer.
"These results of the data are currently being complied in a computer-generated courtroom presentation format," said Box.
He also noted Karen Swift's cell phones were recovered during the investigation and the Dyer County Sheriff's Department is working with the United States Secret Service in processing information used to pinpoint her movements around the time of her disappearance.
"This processing with the Secret Service may provide highly detailed data, which may include the time of every movement that was made before, during and after her murder," said Box.
As Box and investigators continue with their murder investigation, he said he knows the community would like to see an arrest made and so would they. However, he said patience is paying off and the time has been beneficial in making sure a conviction is rendered after they make an arrest.
"In order to ensure a successful prosecution, we will continue to protect the integrity of this case to the end," said Box. "The cardinal rule of law enforcement is to do the job, but do it right."
The Dyer County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are jointly investigating Karen Swift's murder. The Dyer County Sheriff's Department requests any person with information about this case contact them at 731-285-2802 or call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.