PERRY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A mysterious disappearance comes one step closer to possibly being solved.
“It’s like she just walked off the face of the earth,” said Sheriff Nick Weems, of Perry County.
Investigators initially thought she may have accidentally drowned in the Tennessee River, after a major flood occurred just steps away from her home.
“The water was actually almost to the road. So, in our mind we got to thinking,” said Sheriff Weems. “Usually if we have a flood and somebody comes up missing, that’s the first place that we start looking and usually we find them.”
Investigators and the community searched the river and surrounding areas finding nothing. Despite that, investigators continued to search for clues.
“We collected one key piece of evidence that would indicate that there could have been a forced entry, and somebody could be involved in her disappearance,” Sheriff Weems explained.
That evidence is now being processed at a crime lab as the department awaits results. “I’m not going to say 100% sold on it being a home invasion and a murder, but there are indicators that lead us to believe that,” said Weems.
The Perry County Sheriff’s Office is also now offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to an arrest or Mrs. Zadakaus whereabouts. The department is also interrogating suspects as they are booked in.
“We continue to question people that we arrest for burglary, for theft, for drugs to see if they have any information,” said Weems.
Sherriff Weems says they will work diligently until they have answers.
“I would like to get this solved, not only for my department’s sake, but for the family,” Sheriff Weems said. “They need that closure. Her friends need that closure. I think Perry County needs that closure.”
Zadakaus lost her husband in November of 2020. She lived alone and had no children of her own.