Authorities are investigating the apparent murder of Karen Swift, the missing mother from Dyersburg in rural western Tennessee last seen in October.
Swift's body was discovered on Saturday near a cemetery on Highway 78 under bushes and undergrowth by a graveyard worker. The body was identified as Karen Swift using dental records at the Regional Forensic Center in Memphis.
She had been there some time. The body had been concealed by vegetation, Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box told ABC News. Frost and winter conditions killed the vegetation, making the body visible within a few feet.
The body was found on Saturday near her car, a 2004 white Nissan Murano with a flat tire, within miles of her home. Box said evidence found in the car, which includes DNA samples, has been crucial to the investigation, though he did not elaborate, according to WREG.
Authorities said they do not have evidence that she was killed somewhere else.
I think [the body] was placed there, Box told WREG.
There were some apparent injuries to the body, Box told WBBJ. We're going to wait to let the medical examiner's final report tell us the extent of those injuries.
Box said it could be up to two weeks before the Regional Forensic Center in Memphis releases the final autopsy report.
Box also told WREG there was never an organized grid search in the area where Karen Swift's body was discovered.
Swift was last seen returning home from a Halloween party around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 30, according to the Dyer County Sheriff's Office. Swift's daughter found her mother missing shortly after around 6 a.m.
According to authorities, Swift filed for divorce from her husband David Swift on October 10, just 20 days before she went missing. The couple agreed on custody details for their four children and organized a child support payment outline. Court documents cited irreconcilable differences though there appears to have been no lingering issues, according to a report from CNN.
However, Box told WREG that Swift's husband has been cooperating.
That includes DNA samples, he's come in and was interviewed, Box told WREG. He allowed us to interview one of the children. So far he's submitted to every request for search of anything on that property.
At this time we haven't named any suspects and you won't see us name suspects until we're sure it's going to be beneficial to the investigation, Box said.
Swift's disappearance prompted a nationwide search, which included her brother's, Jeffrey Johnson, appearance on Nancy Grace on Nov. 21.
We're doing everything we can to be together right now, Preston Swift told HLN. My father and I have been doing everything we can to help (his two youngest siblings) deal with the situation.
However, Box said there was never a search in the area near Swift's home, where the body was discovered.
Karen Swift leaves behind four children, two older children including Preston and 6-and-9-year-old girls.
It's very emotional for Mr. Swift and the family, Swift's family lawyer Timothy Naifeh said in a statement. They're asking at least for this period of time to have some privacy -- it's time for grieving and it's time for mourning. It's heartbreaking and it's very, very sad.
Authorities said the death of Swift is being ruled as a homicide rather than a missing persons investigation.