News release from Tennessee Bureau of Investigation:
Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has determined that the non-profit organization “Without Warning” did not investigate the case of missing Tennessee woman, Holly Bobo, to law enforcement standards as reported by Nashville television station WSMV which aired several stories during newscasts this month as well as a special documentary which aired May 12, 2013.
While speaking to TBI Special Agents, each member of the private investigative team admitted that they regurgitated information they had heard and read in order to talk about the case on television.
In addition, the founder of “Without Warning,” Sheila Wysocki, wrote in an email to a TBI Special Agent, “You all have to realize that we have been able to make any story surrounding this case a ratings winner and online success which was the goal. In return, someone may come forward to be the hero and give you all the right information to resolve this case.” Each member of the team stated the information provided to them came from the victim’s family.
Since the stories aired, TBI has gone through the appropriate legal channels to obtain the information provided to “Without Warning” as well as video footage from WSMV. No information contained in the documents and video has led to any new evidence in the two year old investigation. The majority of documents contained in the binders are print outs of social media sites, comments posted on various internet websites, personal notes, public records, news articles and a production shooting schedule.
By their own admission, members of “Without Warning” said they had no geolocation information about Holly Bobo’s cell phone after her disappearance including the exact locations and times the phone “pinged” as reported by WSMV. The source of the incorrect and unofficial cell phone information has stated that he told “Without Warning” members the information was not accurate when he provided it to them. TBI has obtained emails exchanged between members of the “Without Warning” team where they discuss the inaccuracy of the times, but used them as factual information regardless.
“The erroneous television reports have led to false leads, public concern and have wasted valuable state resources,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “The most important thing, after finding Holly Bobo and the person responsible for her disappearance, is maintaining the integrity of this investigation should it ever go to trial. In addition, TBI is concerned that WSMV never confirmed any facts reported in the stories with our agency. Never have we seen such irresponsible and unprofessional journalism on an active and open TBI investigation that has been so harmful to the case.”
The 24th Judicial District Attorney General Hansel McAdams, the prosecutor responsible for handling the case, stated, “Without Warning and WSMV have had no regard for the truth and their careless use of misleading information has been detrimental to this case.”
TBI refutes several other allegations made in the reports including that the crime scene was contaminated by people, horses and helicopters, that there is dash cam video from a law enforcement vehicle of the subject, and that there were 21 sex offenders registered at the coon hunt that Holly attended shortly before her disappearance, and that an eyewitness was stripped searched. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that Holly Bobo is a victim of sex trafficking.
TBI’s Criminal Investigation Division Deputy Director Jeff Puckett said, “In 31 years of working at TBI, there has never been a case where this amount of local, state and federal resources have been dedicated to a single investigation. A typical TBI case file for a complicated homicide contains two volumes. The Holly Bobo case file is currently 27 volumes and contains more than 1500 investigative reports. There are more than a 100 judicial documents, including search warrants, subpoenas and court orders, and law enforcement has organized in excess of 100 ground searches. A dollar amount of resources dedicated to this case by law enforcement is too large to estimate.”
TBI’s investigation into Holly Bobo’s disappearance is open and ongoing. Multiple TBI Special Agents are assigned to work on the case which they do not consider to be a cold case. There is a $85,000 government and private citizen reward fund for information leading the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Holly Bobo’s disappearance as well as a reward being offered by a Memphis citizen urging the subject turn himself into authorities for $100,000 and a $250,000 reward for Holly Bobo’s safe return. Information about Holly Bobo’s disappearance should be reported to1-800-TBI-FIND (1-800-824-3463.)
From a Jackson Sun report:
WSMV released a statement on Friday saying, “WSMV is aware of law enforcement concerns about the findings of a private detective group working on behalf of Holly Bobo’s family. A number of stories on Channel 4 simply reported on those findings. Those stories were done with the cooperation and blessing of the Bobo family.
“Although the stories have been airing for several weeks, at no point did law enforcement contact WSMV to dispute any of the findings, until this week. Further, WSMV tried unsuccessfully to engage the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation in discussions on the detective group findings, but TBI was unwilling to comment for the record until today’s strongly worded news release.
“Channel 4 is committed to fair and accurate reporting in all stories, and is happy to review any concerns raised about the content of those stories. WSMV respects and supports the law enforcement agencies working diligently to solve the Holly Bobo case. We also respect the Bobo family’s choice to hire private detectives in their quest for answers in Holly’s disappearance.”
…In an email to The Jackson Sun, Wysocki said, “The Without Warning Team stands by its actions to help find Holly Bobo and strongly disagrees with TBI’s portrayal of WW’s efforts. The team is committed to assisting the family, the community and law enforcement (to) solve her abduction and bring her home. Everything the team has gathered has been given to the family who has in turn made all resources available to TBI. The recent news stories have regenerated an interest in Holly’s case, including new tips and potential witnesses. Without Warning has thoroughly cooperated with the TBI and has offered its full resources to law enforcement for the common goal of bringing resolution for the family.”