Months after the murder of 35-year-old Jacob Dean Bishop, local law enforcement continues work to solve the case.
On Oct. 1, 2019, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office received a call about an “unconscious and unresponsive” male on Shaw Ferry Road North in Lenoir City.
Bishop’s mother found his body, Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider said. The LCSO patrol division received the call at 7:43 a.m. from Loudon County E-911 dispatchers.
Bishop was physically bound and shot multiple times, according to an LCSO release.
“We had a lot of tips come in, a lot of suspects that we’re trying to interview, especially with him being in the military and being recently deployed before his death,” Jimmy Davis, LCSO chief deputy, said. “So quite a few people we wanted to talk to. We sent a lot of evidence to the (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) and we also employed some of their services for ... dealing with phone data and some technology that they have that we don’t have.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the investigation, with TBI asking numerous employees to work from home, Davis said.
“We still have a few suspects that we want to talk to or people of interest more than anything, but we’re just kind of waiting on TBI to kind of lift those suspended services so we can get back with them and kind of get back on the trail of it,” he said. “Obviously if we’re taking any phone calls or anything comes up we’re handling it, but right now we’re just kind of waiting to see, and some of the information has not come back from the TBI yet on the DNA that was found in the apartment.”
Davis hopes to soon resume face-to-face interviews.
“With him being in the military, previously being deployed, we had a lot of people that were close to him that aren’t from around here that may have heard something that he may have said, so we’ve interviewed quite a few that were in the unit that was with him that deployed,” he said. “So we’ve gone through a military list and trying to get through that and talk to them on the phone and asked them if he had any problems with any specific person or anybody that he may have mentioned or any incidents happened while he was deployed that may have caused someone to want to harm him. We’ve looked into all of those.”
The department learned late last year of a white SUV that was in the area days prior to the murder and left the day of Bishop’s death.
Since then, no real progress has been made.
“We had a couple of leads on that and we’ve kind of tracked those down and none of those have really panned out to be the white SUV,” Davis said. “A couple that were in the area we did track down and they did have valid reasons to being in the area other than related to the homicide.”
Davis believes the person responsible visited Bishop solely to kill him.
“We’ve dealt with quite a few homicides out here in the past 10 or 15 years where there’s been either disputes or specific reasons why someone maybe killed or be killed in somewhat of a kind of like a heat-of-the-moment type thing, but this one was we feel planned out and premeditated with the tying up and the things of that nature,” he said. “There didn’t seem to be any robbery or anything like that, so it was definitely motivated to harm Mr. Bishop.”
Guider late last year remained optimistic the case would be resolved.
“I think we’ve hit a snag, but we still feel confident that we will eventually be able to get some certain evidence that will more or less help in solving the case,” Guider said Monday. “Certain types of evidence that we thought we were going to — more or less technology has let us down a little bit in areas that we felt that we were going to be able to find or learn more information.”
Months later, Davis feels the same as Guider.
“Usually someone will come forward in the first week or two, or we do an investigation and find something,” he said. “This one is a little bit more difficult because you have a lot of different aspects — being single, no one around the home, no one living there — talking to friends and family and military people involved in it with actually a lot more people that we have to talk to, but I’m fully confident that we’ll definitely get this solved. It’ll just take a little bit more time than we would have hoped to, especially because it’s definitely hard on the families.”