|Longtime TBI agent and UTM grad retires |
|Posted: Monday, September 10, 2012 10:00 pm |
|JACKSON (AP) — John Mehr, the special agent in charge of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s office in Jackson, has retired after 37 years with the agency and a slew of high-profile cases in West Tennessee. |
Mehr, 60, retired Aug. 31 after serving the agency he joined after getting his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Tennessee at Martin. Known for his leadership and passion to serve the community, Mehr tells The Jackson Sun (http://bit.ly/SkXTFP) that his first activity as a retiree will be looking after the cows on his family’s farm in Crockett County.
“We’ll just see what’s next,” he said. “I think it’ll be good to get away and clear my mind. I talk to others who left and got right back into something real quick, and those people said I should take off and get away for a while. Get away to think through and decide my direction.”
Mehr joined the bureau in 1975 and has served in offices across the state. As a drug crimes supervisor, field investigations unit agent and special agent, Mehr was involved in undercover operations, nationwide manhunts and international investigations.
Since 2010, Mehr has been involved in a number of high profile cases that received national exposure.
Mehr’s team investigated the shootings of two female postal workers in the small town of Henning in October 2010. A former corrections officer, Chastain Montgomery, was arrested in February 2011, charged with killing the women during a robbery with his 18-year-old son.
Mehr says he lost some sleep during the hunt for two jail escapees from Louisiana who had made their way to West Tennessee. The fugitives, who had been charged with killing a man while on the run, were arrested in Memphis in March 2011.
Another case Mehr investigated was the murder of a mother and daughter in Whiteville and the kidnapping of the woman’s two other girls. The man accused of the murders and abductions, Adam Mayes, fled to north Mississippi with the two girls.
Mayes fatally shot himself after being found in the woods near Guntown, Miss., in May. The girls were safe.
While many of Mehr’s cases ended up in arrests, one did not.
Investigators and relatives of Holly Bobo are still looking for the young nursing student from Parsons who went missing more than 16 months ago.
Mehr said if he thinks of something that will help the case, he’ll call and speak with the agents involved. He won’t completely let go, he said. “You’re always hoping all your cases would be resolved and that we would’ve found Holly before I retired,” he said. “That has not happened, but I keep the faith that day will come. It’s always constantly on my mind.”
Jack Van Hooser, who has been named as Mehr’s successor, says he worked with Mehr for 27 years and hated to see him go.
“John is one of those unique individuals who can be your friend and your boss at the same time,” he said. “Being a supervisor myself, I see that’s hard to do. But John pulled it off.”
Published in The Messenger 9.10.12