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Country music star Whitney Duncan’s cousin Holly Bobo was kidnapped and killed shortly after she vanished without a trace three years ago, cops alleged as they charged a man with her murder on Wednesday.
"We believe we can prove she was taken forcefully from her home without her consent," District Attorney General Hansel McCadams said at a news conference. "Based on the evidence before us, we feel she was killed in perpetration of that kidnapping."
Bobo, a 20-year-old nursing student at the University of Tennessee-Martin — vanished from her home April 13, 2011. Her brother told investigators he saw her being led away into the woods by a man wearing camouflage.
Zachary Rye Adams, 29, was held without bond on charges of "especially aggravated" kidnapping and first-degree felony murder by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
No details of the evidence against Adams were immediately released but it was the first official word that Bobo was believed to be dead. Prosecutors said they could seek the death penalty.
Adams was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.
Duncan tweeted shortly after the charges were announced.
“Words can’t describe the heartbreak,” she wrote. “Thank u for the prayers.”
Family friend Kelly Allen told The Associated Press that the arrest announcement brought “really mixed emotions.”
"I'm mad. I'm upset," she said. "I'm grieving for the family and friends and the whole community."
Investigators searched Adams' home on Friday. As a result, he was arrested on unrelated assault charges.
Illana Tate, a spokeswoman for the TBI, said more arrests were possible.
"The investigation is still very active and ongoing," Tate said in a statement.