One-time suspect-witness in Holly Bobo murder case found dead

Tuesday, February 24, 2015
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A man authorities threatened to indict in the disappearance and murder of Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo has been found dead.

A man authorities threatened to indict in the disappearance and murder of Tennessee nursing student Holly Bobo has been found dead, WSMV-TV reports.

Shayne Austin, 30, reportedly took his own life outside Tennessee.

Attorney Luke Evans confirmed Austin was found dead of an apparent suicide.

"It's a tragic loss for the Austin family. They are besides themselves with grief," Evans said.

Austin was a suspect in the murder of 20-year-old Bobo, identified by an eyewitness as following her just days before she was kidnapped outside her Decatur County home in April of 2011.

But Austin was never charged in the Bobo investigation. In fact, he was at one point the star witness for the prosecution.

Austin had signed an immunity agreement one week after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced indictments against two other suspects in the case -- Zach Adams and Jason Autry.

However, as the case developed, the district attorney declared that immunity deal null and void, accusing Austin of lying about his involvement, saying he would indict Austin back in March of last year.

That did not happen after Austin's attorney fought back. Austin appeared to be in the clear. So why possible suicide now?

"It's unfortunate the government came in and made allegations without basis. People had to live with those allegations, under the cloud of those allegations," Evans said.

It's also unknown what Austin may have told authorities before his death. But depending on the circumstances, Austin's testimony could still be used in court.

"Any sort of under oath testimony where he's cross examined by an adverse party, that locks his testimony in," said legal analyst Jim Todd.