The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Bledsoe County authorities are seeking new information in the 2016 double slaying of a Bledsoe County couple, particularly information related to a third person seen with them the day they were last known to be alive.
It's been nearly five years since the bodies of 49-year-old Robbin Juanita Martin and 41-year-old James Henry Songer were found after a passerby spotted a man's body in the yard at the mobile home they shared on Brock Hollow Road. They were last seen alive at the 2016 July Fourth celebration in nearby Dunlap, Tennessee, TBI spokesperson Susan Niland said in an agency video on the case that included comments from case investigators.
"The community members here describe them as good neighbors, they never bothered anybody," TBI special agent Kevin Reagan said. "Here in this community, it's tight-knit. Everybody knew all the vehicles that came up into this area. They would notice a vehicle out of place."
The couple's home — which Niland said has since burned to the ground — is 5 or 6 miles from the Bledsoe-Sequatchie county line near the eastern edge of the Cumberland Plateau.
Allison Panter, the eldest of Martin's three adult children at 37, feels the investigation has stalled, and she worries investigators have lost interest.
"She has children who want answers," a frustrated Panter said Wednesday.
Communication between law enforcement and family members of alleged victims during an investigation is limited to maintain the integrity of the case, Niland said in 2017 when Prater complained that she wanted to talk to someone about the case.
Panter joined the call for help from the public Wednesday, and she hopes revival of the case generates some leads.
"I just wish somebody would come forward and open up and let the cops know who did it so it doesn't happen to anybody else," she said.
One of the people to see Martin and Songer alive at Dunlap's July Fourth celebration is Bledsoe County Sheriff Jimmy Morris, according to Bledsoe County Sheriff's Det. George Hodge.
"They passed the sheriff as they were leaving — our sheriff seen them, they waved at him — at that time, he noticed a third party with them that has not been identified yet," Hodge said.
He said investigators need the identity of the mysterious third person and any other clues as they work to determine what happened between the end of the fireworks in Dunlap and the next evening when the bodies were found.
Songer's body was found by deputies around 6 p.m. CDT July 5, 2016, outside the home with a gunshot wound to the chest, while Martin's body was found inside with multiple gunshot wounds, 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor said during the ongoing probe.
Though the trail has grown cold, authorities believe someone in the community can help, according to Hodge and Reagan.
"Anybody with information, no matter how small, would help us," Reagan said. "The family deserves answers and definitely the community, as well."
Anyone with information about the slaying or about the third person seen with Martin and Songer on July 4, 2016, is urged to call the TBI at 800-TBI-FIND, send a tip by email to TipsToTBI@tn.gov or contact the Bledsoe County Sheriff's Office at 423-447-2197.
Contact Ben Benton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.
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