Blake Aaron Barnett, the former boyfriend of missing nursing student Holly Bobo, was taken into custody in the early morning hours of May 29 on domestic assault and kidnapping charges. The arrest went down in Decatur County, Tenn.
Although NBC News in Nashville described the breakup between Bobo and Barnett which occurred before the 20-year-old nursing student disappeared as not being an amicable one, Barnett’s recent arrest is not connected to Bobo’s disappearance and murder, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. TBI has not yet released any additional details regarding Barnett’s arrest or charges and will not specify whether or not Barnett is part of their investigation into the Bobo case.
Bobo was last seen alive on April 13, 2011 by her brother who told police she was kidnapped from her Decatur County home and led into the woods by a man dressed in camouflage. Missing Persons of America reported on May 29 that prior to Bobo’s April 13, 2011 disappearance, “Holly had a restraining order against this boyfriend [Barnett], because he threatened to kill her.”
Also, it was known that right after Holly disappeared, Holly’s ex-boyfriend went to work earlier that day and then he left and had not been seen since.
In July 2011, Barnett updated his Facebook status to say “Started Working at Canal Barge July 2011 — Deckhand Belle Chasse, Louisiana.” His last status update posted on May 25 reads, “God, the anticipation and worry are too much to bear. Would you please pull the trigger now?”
In recent months, Zachary Adams, 29, and Jason Wayne Autry, 39, have both been charged with Bobo’s kidnapping and murder. Autry, who was already in jail for an unrelated offense after being found guilty on an assault charge, was charged on April 29 with Bobo’s aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder – the exact same charges previously levied against Adams.
CNN reported that Autry, who hails from Holladay, Tenn., “has a lengthy criminal history,” according to statements made at a news conference by Mark Gwyn, the director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Also noteworthy is that Autry is a long-time friend of fellow suspect Adams.
Bobo’s mother, Karen Bobo, attended a hearing in which Autry appeared in a Decatur County courtroom on May 28. The mom has been at every hearing connecting Adams and Autry to her daughter’s disappearance, according to a May 28 report from ABC News.
“I'm asking people, please not forget what this is all about and that this is justice for my daughter,” Karen Bobo said. “I don’t want people to be distracted by the sideshow the attorneys are putting on in court.”
For more on the Holly Bobo case, see the video accompanying this article.