published Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Bradley County officers search basement for missing woman

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    The Bradley County Sheriff's Office searched the basement of Marsha Brantley's home Friday. Brantley, who once worked for Lee University, has been missing since around June 2009. Results of the search weren't made public Saturday. Anyone should contact the Bradley County Sheriff's Office at 423-728-7336.

Investigators revisited the house of a Bradley County woman who has been missing for more than three years to search for new evidence in the case, Bradley County Sheriff's Office spokesman Bob Gault said.

Marsha Brantley, 53, went missing from Cleveland, Tenn., in June 2009.

"We went back out yesterday as part of an ongoing missing persons investigation," Gault said Saturday.

Gault did not say what authorities were looking for or whether the search turned up any new evidence, but the Brantley family attorney, Jim Logan, told a local TV station that authorities used cadaver dogs to search the basement for Marsha Brantley's body.

The investigation into her disappearance started in December 2009, after a friend told a local attorney she hadn't seen Brantley in months.

Brantley's husband, Donnie Brantley, told investigators his wife left him and that they were planning to divorce at the time she disappeared. He did not report that she was missing.

On a Facebook page set up to keep family and friends up to date on the search, neighbor Christie Odom wrote that she was happy to see authorities back at Brantley's house.

"Your neighbors remember," she wrote. "Glad to see the search happen last night. Things are happening because you are worth not giving up the fight."

Family and friends have pushed authorities to keep searching for Marsha Brantley. They asked the Bradley County Sheriff's Office to join the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation on the case in 2011, and they passed out fliers and photos in Cleveland on the two-year anniversary of her disappearance.

TBI spokeswoman Kristin Helm said TBI was not involved in Friday night's search.

Before she disappeared, Brantley worked for Lee University as a residential director for several years and was a freelance writer.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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