Suspect arrested in disappearance of Chattanooga's Jasmine Pace, now ruled a homicide

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / District attorney Coty Wamp looks on as police chief Celeste Murphy speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.
Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / District attorney Coty Wamp looks on as police chief Celeste Murphy speaks during a press conference on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.

Officials are now calling the disappearance of Chattanooga's Jasmine "Jazzy" Pace, 22, a homicide, and a suspect, Jason Chen, has been arrested and is being charged with criminal homicide.

On Sunday, the Chattanooga Police Department transitioned the missing person case to a homicide investigation based on evidence that came to the department's attention, Hamilton County District Attorney Coty Wamp said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.

"Since then, the Chattanooga Police Department has been working around the clock, literally day and night, since Sunday mid-afternoon, to ascertain evidence and information that they can get to locate Jasmine Pace," Wamp said. "Our main concern is Jasmine. Our main concern is her location."

Police obtained a warrant to search Chen's Chattanooga apartment, where they found evidence that led police to identify him as a suspect.

"New evidence has surfaced since then that allowed the department to develop probable cause in the case of a homicide," Wamp said.

[READ MORE: Marion authorities suspect foul play in Whitwell woman's disappearance]

Chen was located at his home in Williamson County, south of Nashville, last night and is now in custody, Wamp said.

Chen is being charged with criminal homicide in Hamilton County, and the state of Tennessee is pursuing first-degree murder charges, Wamp said.

Homicide investigator Zack Crawford with the Chattanooga Police Department said at the news conference that Chen obtained legal counsel upon his arrest and is not responding to questions from investigators.

The investigation is ongoing, and there is sensitive information officials are not releasing at this time, Wamp said.

Crawford said authorities are still gathering evidence, including records and technology that are still coming in.

"Our search is pretty broad right now, and we are following up all leads that we are obtaining through tip lines, witnesses or any person at this time," Crawford said.

Pace became friends with Chen in May, according to Pace's longtime friend, Bailey Putman, who said in a phone interview that Chen was "probably more than a friend" to Pace, but they were not dating exclusively.

Police are investigating how the two met, Crawford said.

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Her last known location is Chen's apartment, Crawford said.

Pace shared her location with her mother on her cellphone at 2:18 a.m. Nov. 23 from Chen's apartment near Tremont Street and Frazier Avenue in North Chattanooga, Putman said.

Her family traced the location of her car to a condominium complex on Mountain Creek Road.

"We will not stop until we find her," Wamp said. "The District Attorney's Office often has the privilege of being the voice of the victims, and I want to reassure the family and friends that are here today that Jasmine has a voice through the state of Tennessee, through myself as district attorney general, and we won't stop until we see justice in this case."

Anyone with information about Pace can call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-643-7695.

Contact Emily Crisman at or 423-757-6508. Follow her on Twitter @emcrisman.

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