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Cold Case Spotlight

COLD CASE SPOTLIGHT: Karen Johnson Swift

It’s been more than three years since wife and mother Karen Johnson Swift vanished after returning home from a Halloween party in Dyersburg, Tennessee. Six weeks later, her body was found just two miles from her home.

“It still hurts every day to know that somebody took my baby, killed her, took her down to the kudzu and threw her out like a rag doll. Just breaks my heart,” Carol Johnson, Karen’s mother, told NBC affiliate WMCA in October. “I think if I could know who to be angry at, I think I could start to heal, but as it is, it's just an open wound every day.”

Immediately following her disappearance, investigators searched her home and questioned her husband, David Swift, with whom Karen had filed divorce papers against three weeks prior.

David told investigators that he was the last person to see his wife the night she vanished, saying she had left a Halloween party early the night of October 29th, 2011 to pick up one of the couple’s daughters from a sleepover because the child was not feeling well. David told authorities he briefly spoke to Karen sometime after midnight when she arrived home. The following morning, David reported Karen missing, according to local NBC affiliate WMCA.

That same morning, police located Karen’s 2004 Nissan Murano a few miles away from her home. The SUV was abandoned with her Halloween costume inside, a tire was shredded, and Karen’s purse was missing. Then, nearly six weeks after she was reported missing, Karen’s body was discovered near a cemetery not far from her home.

According to WMCA, investigators have called David a person of interest in the case, but he has never been charged. WMCA reports that because of continued harassment following his wife’s murder, David and the couple’s daughters have moved nearly an hour away. Police are still trying to piece together the details surrounding the night Karen was killed, and are still asking for help from anyone who may have seen anything that night. Investigators told WMCA there is not enough evidence to officially charge anyone in Karen’s murder at this time.

If you have information that could help crack this cold case, please contact the Dyer County Sheriff's Office at (731) 285-2802.