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FERRIER FILES: Who killed a West Tennessee mother of four?


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Karen Swift was bludgeoned to death on October 29, 2011. After a Halloween party at the Farms Country Club in Dyersburg, Swift went home and was last seen by her husband tucking in their daughter. For some reason, Swift left the house.

Her car was found with a flat tire near her home. Her body was discovered six weeks later near a road in a remote cemetery.

“Somebody ran up to her very quickly. She didn't even have time to get her hands up and protect herself at all. A crushing blow to the head, this was obviously an act of extreme rage,” said private detective Heather Cohen.

Investigators believe Karen and David Swift had a rocky marriage. They both admittedly cheated on each other for years. They divorced, remarried and were about to divorce again. But despite all their tumult, friends say there was never any domestic violence.

While the Dyersburg Sheriff's Department considers Swift a prime suspect, Nashville private detective Heather Cohen thinks the sheriff's department has tunnel vision.

“The difference between my investigation and their investigation is that I came in with a suspect," Cohen said. "They came in with their sights set on David Swift, and I came in and went where the leads lead me."

And here's where things get interesting, remember the Halloween party at the Farms Country Club? Several witnesses say Swift was involved in an altercation with a married woman on the patio that night.

10 days later, there was a break-in at Farms. The only thing stolen - the club's security cameras.

Karen Swift's dead and only partially clothed body was found in the bushes off a dirt road at the Bledsoe Cemetery in December 2011. But, the area was searched on November 10, a month earlier. How could they miss a decomposing body?

Three witnesses told detective Heather Cohen they saw a man with a metal detector in the area in November at the strange, out of the way spot. Cohen claims those witnesses say Dyersburg investigators wouldn't even take their statements, much less find and interview the man.

“It’s time for another agency to step in and take jurisdiction," Cohen said. "It’s been seven years and the sheriff's department has overlooked some major factors in this case."

Karen Swift's best friend, Erin Gray, has never been interviewed by police, although she says Karen told her some strange things before she died.

“She did tell me she had got herself in a mess and she didn't know how to get out of it," Gray said. "But, that it had nothing to do with her husband."

Swift reportedly told her friend she was having an affair with a married man and had local police in her back pocket. She said some people gave her $10,000 to help with her divorce, but had a strange reaction to the gift.

"I remember replying that was very nice of them and she said 'Nobody is nice here. Everything comes with a price,'" Gray said.

It seemed like a messy life, but it was a life that mattered.

"I miss her a lot," Gray said. "We all do. It's time that something is done."

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Heather Cohen is investigating the case without a client. She said she's compelled to solve it.


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