Tennessee resident Zachary Rye Adams was charged on Wednesday with especially aggravated kidnapping and felony murder in the first degree for the death of Holly Bobo on April 13, 2011. Bobo, a nursing student, has not been seen for almost three years and was last seen being led into the woods by an unidentified man. Police now believe that the unknown man was Adams. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Just 20 at the time of her disappearance, Bobo was getting ready to go to her nursing school for class the morning she disappeared. Her body has never been found and scant evidence has been uncovered. Besides a small measure of blood found in the carport of the family home, the only clue on which to build the investigation was the account of Bobo’s brother, who saw his sister being led into the woods behind their home by an unknown man wearing hunting attire. Although at first he believed the man to be Bobo’s boyfriend, he became concerned by how the man was holding onto her and telephoned his mother. She called 911.
News of Bobo’s disappearance filled the Tennessee town with approximately 2,400 volunteers and investigators who thoroughly searched the area. A reward offered for information related to the case topped out at $460,000.
Adams, 29, was arrested after police officers conducted a search of his home last week while investigating an unrelated case of assault. Police would not detail what the search yielded that led to the arrest of Adams. Of note is that Adams’ house in Holladay is located approximately 15 miles from Parsons, where Bobo lived at the time of her disappearance. Adams was formally charged by a grand jury special session and is set to be arraigned on Tuesday in Decatur County.
The director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Mark Gwyn, said that despite Adams’ arrest, they have not ruled out the chance that other arrests might be forthcoming and the investigation is continuing. According to Gwyn, the case of Bobo’s disappearance was the most time-consuming and expensive investigation ever to occur in Tennessee.
Gwyn described the Bobo family as “devastated” upon hearing the news of the arrest. The pastor of the Corinth Baptist Church, Don Franks, stated that he had visited with the Bobo’s before Thursday’s news conference and that they have relied and will continue to depend on their faith throughout this entire ordeal. Kelly Allen, a friend of the Bobo family, said by phone that the news of an indictment was upsetting because she had never stopped hoping that Bobo might be found alive.
District Attorney General Hansel McAdams has not ruled out seeking the death penalty for Adams should he be convicted. Prosecutors believe they have a solid case against Adams, which was confirmed by McAdams, who said that his office believes that they can prove that Bobo was taken without her consent and that their evidence will show that she was murdered during the kidnapping.
Adams is currently in jail on an unrelated charge. He is being held on a bond set at $1 million.
By Jennifer Pfalz