LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. – It was a gruesome murder that went unsolved for nearly four years, but Wednesday afternoon, after extensive police work, an arrest has been made in an infamous Lincoln County Cold Case.
Michael Mitchell’s murder was a heinous one. He was found dismembered and severely decayed inside his own home.
For the last several years, with few leads, and even fewer answers, his family has been hoping and praying a day like this would come.
“When cases go unsolved, it wears on the family,” said Tennessee Bureau of Investigations Director Mark Gwyn.
After the initial body discovery, without convincing leads, the case went cold. That is – until Wednesday – when the thermometer hit a record high.
“This afternoon TBI agents took Joe Speck into custody, charging him with one count of criminal homicide,” said Gwyn.
We’re told, at one time, Joe Speck lived in Lincoln County, but recently has called Lacey Springs, Ala. home.
That’s where collaboration crossed state lines.
“Thanks to Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin for all the special help she provided to us. That goes to show what a great partnership can do in a case like this,’ says Lincoln County Sheriff Murray Blackwelder.
The sheriff insists Morgan County was instrumental in keeping an eye on their suspect.
It’s still unclear what eventually tipped the scales. No one from the law enforcement community would give details into how Mitchell and Speck knew each other or what could have motivated such a disturbing crime.
“We don’t want to try this in the media so I can’t answer those specific questions,” Gwyn told reporters.
Now, the case will be handed over to District Attorney Rob Carter for the next phase of justice.
“We are gratified that the hard work has paid off today,” said Gwyn.
Speck was taken into custody in Morgan County Wednesday afternoon, and is now behind bars, without bond, in the Lincoln County Jail.
The DA said eventually the trial will be held in Lincoln County.