Unsolved mystery remains priority

Jacob Dean Bishop

A pair of major cases pursued by local law enforcement remain unsolved.

On Oct. 1, 2019, Loudon County Sheriff’s Office received a call for an “unconscious and unresponsive” man on Shaw Ferry Road North in Lenoir City.

Jacob Dean Bishop, 35, was found by his mother. He was physically bound and shot multiple times, according to an LCSO release.

The case remains open.

Jimmy Davis, LCSO chief deputy, said the department has been working with Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

“The technology that they have available that we don’t, and when COVID hit that slowed the investigation way down because we were looking to do some polygraph testing and we wanted to use a state agency on that case for this murder case, they’re usually predicated by the DA to help us in those,” Davis said. “We couldn’t use some local law enforcement. We wanted to use the state agency for the homicide case, obviously, and so that slowed down because they were not doing any polygraph examinations for several months.

“We’ve sent some things to them and that I think has been slowed down also by COVID,” he added. “I’m not saying COVID is the whole reason why we don’t have any results yet by any means, but some of the leads and things we’re trying to eliminate are taking a little bit more time. We’re still in the process. We’ve got some things back from the lab that we’re still looking for leads and how to build on leads on that.”

Davis said LCSO has remained in contact with the family and considers the case a “priority.”

“It’s just we’re working on the leads that we have and trying to thoroughly examine those to the fullest extent before we turn to something else,” he said.

A white SUV was in the area days prior to the murder and left the day of Bishop’s death.

There are several contributing factors that make a case like this difficult to solve, Davis said.

“The victim being one of not being involved in any criminal activity that we know of or any kind of things or have any a lot of hard feelings from anybody or toward anybody that makes him, I wouldn’t say your normal victim,” Davis said. “It wasn’t a homicide of opportunity related to another crime, whether it be drug related or a break-in or theft or anything like that. That was not involved, so it lessened your areas of what you want to look at first, of known enemies or anything like that. We don’t believe that he had any, so it’s kind of a — as we call it, a ‘whodunit’ — and it takes time to go through and have the processing and testing that we have. We’re waiting on some DNA testing of evidence found at the scene and that’s just taking time to get back and hopefully turning up leads with that. Once that gets back, we think we’ll have a pretty hot trail in which direction to be able to turn our focus on.”

Despite being hopeful for DNA to turn up leads, Davis has concerns about a case that has taken more than a year.

“I mean every homicide we’ve had in Loudon County has 100% solve rate, and this one is concerning,” Davis said. “But do I think we’ll come to a resolution? Absolutely. I think with the technology that we’re using and the testing that we’re doing through the state agency, I absolutely believe it will be solved. I obviously can’t guarantee it, but I think we’ve done a very good job at preserving the scene and collecting what evidence was there and I have confidence in our (criminal investigations) division that eventually (it will be solved). It may take a little time, and some cases do, some cases take more time, whether it be by waiting on testing to come back or somebody saying something, whether it be guilt or somebody gets mad at somebody and tells on them for whatever crime may be.

“That happens a lot in drug cases and happens a lot in several cases and crimes are solved that way,” he added. “Time is a little bit you would think not on our side but as time goes on I think it increases our chances. Like I said, it’s worrisome that it won’t be solved but I’m confident that we will do it.”

If anyone has information, contact LCSO at 865-986-4823.

Swimmer death puzzling

Authorities are still looking for the person responsible for the death of 55-year-old Michael Carnock Sr., who went swimming May 2018 in Tellico Lake and died after a boat apparently him.

Carnock was found in June 2018 after a 17-day search. He was in town from Maryland visiting with family in Tellico Village.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is in charge of the investigation.

“The incident remains under investigation,” Matthew Cameron, TWRA spokesman, said in an email correspondence. “There have been some leads that have been investigated by several different agencies, however, there hasn’t been anything recent.”

Cameron said unwitnessed boating incidents are always difficult to investigate.

“Besides the fact there is no apparent person that saw what happened, there is no damaged boat to look at, no roadway with skid marks, no physical evidence and no real crime scene,” Cameron said.

If anyone has information, contact TWRA at 1-800-831-1174.