HOLLADAY, TN (WSMV) - Investigators returned Sunday to site of a renewed search for information in the 2011 disappearance of nursing student Holly Bobo.
The effort was scaled back from the response first seen Friday, and incoming freezing rain and ice threatened to slow progress.
A small Bobcat excavator was seen being brought in on a trailer Sunday afternoon. It wasn't clear where on the property the equipment was used.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation executed several search warrants Friday in connection with the case, but have said little else about what they are looking for.
TBI Director Mark Gwyn held a press conference Friday afternoon near the scene of one of the searches, the home of Zachary Adams. The property is on Adams Lane, just south of Interstate 40 in Decatur County – about 15 miles from Bobo's home.
Adams was arrested by Decatur County authorities Friday afternoon on unrelated aggravated assault charges.
"Early this morning, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began executing search warrants in Decatur and surrounding counties," said Gwyn. "We're also conducting several interviews in Decatur and surrounding counties."
The TBI has blocked access to Adams Lane and several marked cars are in the front yard. A cadaver dog from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office has also been brought to the scene.
Saturday's search included a new focus on a pond and an abandoned home near the property.
Authorities brought at least two vehicles on flatbed tow trucks to the scene Friday, including a PT Cruiser that appeared to be riddled with bullet holes.
"This is a very important time in this investigation. We're not going to say or do anything at the point to interfere with this investigation," said Gwyn. "Hopefully we'll be able to return Holly home safely to her parents. That's our goal."
Agents were also seen from Air 4 sifting dirt, looking for clues in an area behind Adams' home.
Adams had been released Wednesday from the Benton County jail after posting bond on drug-related charges prior to his arrest Friday.
"It's no surprise. Drugs have been a big factor in his life. It's changed him. He's no longer the Zach that I grew up with," said Danielle Darnell, a friend of Bobo's who knows Zach Adams.
It's been nearly three years since Bobo disappeared from her family's home in Parsons, TN.
Bobo was last seen on the morning of April 13, 2011, when she was seen by her brother being led away from her Darden, TN, home.
The Bobos' family pastor said he has been in contact with Holly's family much of the day Friday. The Rev. Don Franks, pastor at Corinth Baptist Church, said the family is hopeful at the latest search.
"We still believe deep down in our hearts that she's alive. Developments in nearby states, these ladies that have been missing 10 years or whatever, brought renewed hope to the family and this community," Franks said. "I think I've said it before, we're country people, country folks, and we're just not going to give up on finding Holly."
The massive search began just one day before Bobo's friends and family planned to gather for a day of prayer. Hundreds visited the family church Saturday.
"I know the family needs our prayers, and we pray she'll be found and found alive," said Vicki Forrester, who lives across from the Adams Lane search scene.
Gwyn did not indicate what prompted the agency to ask for the search warrants.
"We've come a long way and it's taken a long time to get to the point we are now," said Gwyn. "Now's not the time to put anything in jeopardy."
"We believe there are people, individuals, in Decatur County that have information in the disappearance of Holly Bobo, and we're asking them to come forward," Gwyn said.
Posted by Greg Palmer