Man charged with murder, arson and kidnapping

Published 12:35 am Friday, August 10, 2018

JEFFERSON COUNTY — A Claiborne County man has been charged with first-degree murder and arson in connection to the death of a Jefferson County woman whose partially burned body was found Saturday in a field in Claiborne County.

Jefferson County Sheriff Peter Walker said Travis Kelly, 29, was arraigned on the charges Thursday morning in a Claiborne County courtroom and faces an additional related kidnapping charge in Jefferson County.

After Rosie Lee Oliver, 43, was reported missing from Jefferson County Aug. 3, Walker said Jefferson County investigators learned that Kelly, her boyfriend, was believed to have been the last person to see Oliver.

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Investigators tracked Kelly to his residence in Claiborne County, Walker said, but learned he was being held in the Claiborne County Jail on domestic violence and aggravated assault charges stemming from an incident with another individual, Walker said.

“We questioned him,” Walker said, “and he denied having seen her (Oliver) Thursday night and said she had apparently left when he left. We investigated and found out he had been seen with her early Friday morning and questioned him more, and he still denied having any knowledge of where she may have been.”

As the investigation continued through Saturday morning, Walker said, Claiborne County called and said Oliver’s partially burned body had been found in a field by a hiker in the area.

Walker said a preliminary autopsy revealed Oliver had multiple head wounds, facial injuries and stab wounds to the neck. The exact cause of death, however, has not yet been determined, Walker said.

Kelly was still being held in Claiborne County late Thursday, Walker said, and is not expected to have a bond.

He is expected to face arraignment soon on the Jefferson County kidnapping charge, Walker said, noting that Claiborne County and Jefferson County share the same judicial district so proceedings can take place in either county’s courts.