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Husband arrested in 2011 cold case murder of Dyersburg woman Karen Swift

David Swift was arrested in Alabama Monday on a first-degree murder indictment for the 2011 murder of his wife, who filed for divorce 3 weeks before going missing.

DYERSBURG, Tenn — A man was arrested Monday on charges of pre-meditated first-degree murder in the 2011 cold case of Dyersburg woman Karen Swift's murder. 

Members of the Dyer County Grand Jury indicted former Dyer County resident David Swift, Karen's former husband, on the charge, and he was arrested Monday in Birmingham, Alabama.

Swift, since remarried and living in Alabama, was brought in by members of the Dyer County Sheriff's Office with assistance from members of the Jefferson County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office.

The indictment comes more than a decade after Karen Swift’s slain body was found on Dec. 10, 2011. 

Swift, a mother with four children, was reported missing on Oct. 30, 2011, three weeks after she had filed for divorce from her husband.

RELATED: Mid-South murder mystery: Who killed Karen Swift?

David Swift was allegedly the last person to see her alive when she returned home from a Halloween party held at the Dyersburg Country Club at The Farms.

“Today is a good day for law enforcement and I’m very pleased the grand jury returned an indictment against (David) Swift,” said Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box. “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 kept going through the evidence and I want to sincerely thank them for their diligence in this case.”

Box said the one thing that held true since the early stages of the investigation into Swift’s death was that her husband was always a suspect because all the evidence pointed to him.

RELATED: TBI says lawyer tried to extort money relating to unsolved murder of Karen Swift

The Dyer County Sheriff’s Office concluded its investigation and turned the evidence over to Dyer County District Attorney General Danny Goodman’s office in October of 2019. Box was pleased Goodman and his staff took their time looking over the case before presenting it to the grand jury on Monday.

“I am so glad the district attorney, our prosecutor, had enough interest in this case to present it to the grand jury,” Box said. “I’ve thanked District Attorney General Goodman for seeing this thing through, and he did the right thing today.”

RELATED: 6 Years Later: The Search Continues For Karen Swift’s Killer

Throughout the past 11 years, Box has remained in touch with Karen Swift’s mother, Carol Johnson. Box said he made Johnson a promise more than a decade ago that one day, the person that committed the murder would be brought to justice. On Monday afternoon, the sheriff made a phone call he has waited to make for nearly 11 years.

“As soon as (David) 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,” said Box. “She just wants justice for her daughter.”

Swift will remain in the custody, without bond, at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office until an extradition hearing takes place, possibly on Tuesday.

If convicted, Swift faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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