DECATURVILLE, Tenn. – A Decatur County man, Zachary Rye Adams, has been charged with the aggravated kidnapping and murder of Holly Bobo. TBI investigators presented evidence to a grand jury in Decatur County that returned the indictment Wednesday.
Adams, age 29, was already in custody on an unrelated charge.
Bobo, a 20-year-old nursing student at the time of her disappearance, was taken from her family's home in Decatur County in 2011.
Tennessee Bureau of Investigation officials announced the indictment against Adams during a 4 p.m. briefing at the Decatur County Sheriff's Office in Decaturville. Members of the TBI, FBI, the office of 24th Judicial District Attorney General Hansel McCadams and the Sheriff's Office participated.
A special meeting of the grand jury was convened at 1 p.m. Ten grand jury members along with two alternates were called early Wednesday morning about the special meeting.
Circuit Judge Creed McGinley called the meeting extremely rare, saying he had been petitioned by the District Attorney to call the grand jury back into session. He added that the jurors would not be told what they were investigating before the meeting was adjourned.
He also explained that the grand jury must decide whether there was sufficient evidence or probable cause to bring charges.
TBI director Mark Gwyn said a Special Agent presented facts and evidence regarding the disappearance of Holly Bobo.
"After the presentment of this information, a Decatur County grand jury handed down an indictment of especially aggravated kidnapping and first degree felony murder on Zachary Rye Adams," said Gwyn.
District Attorney General Hansel McCadams from the 24th Judicial District said his office believed they could prove Bobo was taken forcefully from her home without her consent.
"Based upon the evidence that we have before us, we also feel that she was killed in the perpetration of that kidnapping," he said.
McCadams said his office would consider seeking the death penalty.
"The case will be evaluated by my office as a death penalty-eligible case. The evaluation process will review the nature of the crime, the criminal history of the defendant, the aggravating factors set up by statute, and mitigating factors," he said.
Wednesday night, cars filled the parking lot of Corinth Baptist Church in Darden. The shocked community gathered together as a sign of support for the Bobo family.
"A life has been altered and the lives of many have been forever changed by this," said Corinth Baptist associate pastor Brad Moore. "We know there is a lot of emotion at this point and continue to pray for justice."
Holly Bobo was last seen at her family's home in Darden on the morning of April 13, 2011, when her brother told authorities he saw a man in hunting clothes leading the 20-year-old into the woods around the family home.
Since then, authorities have spent hundreds of thousands hours investigating the case.
Bobo's family was told about the developments in the case before the press conference. They had been holding out hope that Holly Bobo would be found alive.
"Obviously they're devastated. They've been devastated for three years, but hopefully this is the beginning of closure for the Bobo family. They deserve that," said Gwyn.
Hundreds of ground searches have been conducted as well as hundreds of search warrants, most recently on Friday when multiple search warrants were executed at various locations, including property owned by Adams.
Officials with the TBI were seen using shovels and various other tools to dig and sift through dirt behind Adams' house on Adams Lane in Decatur County. After a cadaver dog went over the area, investigators began driving probes down into the ground to see if they might hit upon anything solid.
Several vehicles were also seen being towed away from the area.
"In the last week I guess you can say that we put a full-court press on base on the evidence we have gathered. As one bit of information leads to the next bit of information, we decided to start conducting searches and interviews," said Gwyn.
Investigators scaled back the search Monday due to the weather but said they were still searching for evidence. They would not say if they have found the remains of Holly Bobo.
Officials said the motive and circumstances surrounding Holly's disappearance are still being investigated. The possibility of additional suspects exist.
A motion hearing was expected to be announced at that time.
Adams was arrested Friday on an unrelated aggravated assault charge. He was being held on $1 million bond in that case. In February, he was accused of holding a gun to a woman's head and threatening to "gut" her. You can read more about what the NewsChannel 5 Investigates team uncovered about Adams past here.
The TBI said the Holly Bobo investigation has historically been one of the most exhaustive in terms of time, resources and cost.