KINGSPORT, Tenn. - It's been nearly two and a half years since police were called to an apartment in Kingsport where 65-year-old Betty Sue Short was found dead; now police say the investigation has finally come together
"After two years, it's just like putting together a very complicated puzzle sometimes. We're always looking for those pieces, and when we get enough pieces, that's when we're able to proceed. That's kind of what happened here," says Kingsport Police Chief David Quillen.
Police arrested 42-year-old Jonathan Lynn Slemp on Tuesday. Slemp is charged with first degree murder, felony murder and especially aggravated robbery.
Police say Slemp and Short knew each other, but won't elaborate about how and wouldn't say much about the evidence they recovered.
As for the more than two-year time line, Quillen says it took some 'old-fashioned police work' to get to this point, including nearly 100 interviews that took investigators to four states.
Quillen adds the real-life investigation process isn't like crime shows on TV. "I wish we had a crime lab in the basement where we could get fingerprints and DNA back in 15 minutes. We could have a suspect identified in 40 minutes and go to trial in 60 minutes, but it's not like that," he said.
The news of an arrest comes as a relief for some neighbors who lived near the victim, like Donna Smith. "I heard on the news they got him. I'm glad, because it makes us in the neighborhood feel a lot safer," she said. "It was unnerving to know that can happen right behind you."
The man police say did this is now in jail on a $300,000 bond.
Kingsport Police tell us a Sullivan County Grand Jury handed down the charges on Tuesday.
Police say Slemp was at the Kingsport Justice Center on Tuesday for probation on DUI and driving on a revoked license charges when he was taken into custody for the latest charges.