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Husband Of Tennessee Woman Killed In 2011 Indicted For Her Murder

A grand jury has indicted David Swift in the murder of his wife, Karen Swift — almost 11 years after her body was found in a wooded area with blunt force head trauma.

By Constance Johnson
A police handout of the arrest of David Swift

An Alabama man has been indicted by a Tennessee grand jury on a charge of pre-meditated first-degree murder in the death of his former wife nearly 11 years ago.

Karen Swift, a 44-year-old mother of four, was reported missing on Oct. 30, 2011 — just weeks after filing for divorce from her then-husband, David Swift, according to WMC, a Memphis television station.

"She just wasn't happy — and I don't think he was happy either, but she wasn't happy," Carol Johnson told WMC about her daughter and son-in-law in 2014. The two were still sharing their marital home when she disappeared.

"He said, 'I don't know where Karen is,'" she said of the day her daughter went missing. "I said, 'What do you mean you don't know where Karen is?'"

David Swift was allegedly the last person to see his wife alive after she returned from a Halloween party at the Dyersburg Country Club at The Farms, according to a release from the Dyer County Sheriff’s Office in Tennessee. David Swift told police — in the sole interview to which he consented — that she'd left the party early, picked up their daughter from a sleepover and gone to sleep in the girl's room, according to WMC. 

Authorities found her car with a shredded tire and her Halloween costume on Oct. 31, but Karen and her purse were missing, according to multiple reports.

"Since that time, he has never picked up the phone and called and asked about the investigation at all," Johnson said in 2014. "To me, if it was my wife that had been murdered, I'd be burning the phone up every day for answers."

Karen Swift's body was discovered on Dec. 10, 2011 by a group of hunters in a wooded area near a cemetery, according to WREG, a Memphis television station.

"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," Johnson told WMC in 2014. "Just breaks my heart."

An autopsy report, which was unsealed in 2018, determined that she died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to WREG. She was also partially clothed and had numerous bone fractures, the station reported.

A police handout of David Swift

David Swift was remarried and living in Alabama when he was arrested by Dyer County sheriff deputies on Monday.

“Today is a good day for law enforcement, and I am very pleased the grand jury returned an indictment against David Swift,” Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box said in the release. “We have literally spent thousands of hours on this case and a lot of that time was spent dispelling false information and rumors. Our investigators never gave up and just going through the evidence, and I want to sincerely thank them for their diligence in this case.”

Dyer's office concluded their investigation in October 2019 and turned the information over to the district attorney's office then.

Box said he had kept in touch with Johnson over the years.

“As soon as Swift was placed in handcuffs I called Carol and told her the news. I always told her I had faith this case would be prosecuted and today we had a very emotional conversation,” Box said. “She just wants justice for her daughter.”

“The one thing that held true since the early stages of the investigation into Karen’s death was that David was always a suspect because all the evidence pointed to him," he added. "We were able to rule anyone and everyone else out involving this tragic murder.”

Swift was extradited back to Dyer County after appearing before an Alabama judge on Tuesday morning and waving his rights to an extradition hearing. He’s scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday. He’s being held at the Dyer County Jail with no bond, according to the sheriff’s office.