POLK Co., NC (WSPA) – A Polk County man remains in jail accused of strangling a woman and dumping her body in a well. Investigators say the couple had an on-and-off relationship.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that Jeremy Bradshaw is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Karen Jenkins.
People who knew Jenkins said she was a mother, friend and good person who did not deserve what happened to her.
“She was always a happy person,” said Holly Leopard, who’s known Jenkins for about 20 years. “She was a good person. If she had something and you needed it it’s her last she gave it to you.”
Leopard made a Facebook post asking for help after Polk County sheriff’s investigators say Jenkins went missing last November from Spartanburg County. The post was shared thousands of times.
“I just kept hearing mine and hers past conversations – it’s like constantly she was in my ear,” said Leopard.
Investigators say Jenkins’ body was found inside an abandoned well off Old Highway 19 near Columbus.
“I really can’t answer as far as how he did it. Autopsy shows she died by strangulation,” said lead investigator Captain B.J. Bayne.
Deputies said in February Jeremy Bradshaw told detectives that’s where he hid the body.
“The actions in my mind would certainly meet the definition of his acts being atrocious, heinous, or cruel,” said District Attorney Greg Newman, who serves Polk, Henderson, and Transylvania counties.
Jenkins’ family in Tennessee is also coping with the loss.
“It was devastating,” said stepsister Lori Sims. “We couldn’t believe it. We were just really really upset.”
The DA said he will seek the death penalty.
“It’s my opinion that we have those facts and that I’ll be able to sustain and support a finding of death if we have this defendant convicted,” Newman said during a press conference.
It’s a punishment that Leopard said makes sense.
“He’s the devil is what he is and he deserves the death penalty,” she said.
She now wants justice for her friend.
“Every time I saw her, she made me smile,” said Leopard. “She did not deserve what she got. Nobody deserves that. Nobody.”
The DA said the case will be presented to the Polk County grand jury on April 23.