- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Tulsa Police released additional details last week in the case of a Talala man recently found dead after having been missing since June 20.

Chazz Holly, 27, was reported missing by his parents upon their return from a vacation. Also missing was the Hollys’ truck. A wide-ranging search for Chazz Holly had been ongoing for weeks when his body was discovered by a search party in Antlers, Okla. on July 19.

Vernon Smith, 27, of Tulsa, was arrested July 20 by the Tulsa Police Department on charges of second degree murder and kidnapping in connection with Holly’s death.

Tulsa Police Department Homicide Sgt. Dave Walker said last week that during the search for Holly, Smith reportedly showed up at the Tulsa Police Department claiming he had seen Chazz Holly, and claiming that Holly was still alive.

Rogers County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Shane Rhames said Smith also called RCSO and said Holly was alive, Rhames said.

Walker said Smith, a resident of Tulsa who’s originally from Okmulgee, lived at apartments in the area of 67th St. and Lewis Ave. in Tulsa, and that he was the last person known to be seen with Holly.

“We called Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, who said they wanted to interview him,” Walker said. “And he still claimed to them that Holly was still alive and is in Longview, Texas.”

Walker said Smith was taken to Longview by Holly’s father, Clay Holly, and private investigator Eric Cullen.

On the way back, Smith reportedly told Clay Holly and the private investigator where Chazz Holly could be found.

Walker said Smith and “several others” are alleged to have, “tied (Chazz) Holly up and gagged his mouth, then threw him in the back of the truck during the heat of the day.”

The back of the pickup truck had a cover on it, making it even hotter, Walker said.

Walker said they reportedly drove around with Chazz Holly in the back of the truck for four hours and at one point checked on him and realized he was not doing well. “So, they moved him to the front of the truck and after they realized he had passed, they decided to drop him off in Antlers,” Walker said.

Cullen described working closely with the Holly family during the search for Chazz Holly, including the trip made to Texas with Smith.

“I was in Clay’s slow motion nightmare,” Cullen said. “When we started showing the fliers in Longview, they said they seen the truck but never seen Chazz, we pressed Smith a little more that all of these people could not be lying.”

After a 48-hour ground search of the area in Antlers reportedly described by Smith, Chazz Holly’s body was discovered.

After jurisdiction issues were resolved, Smith was arrested by the TPD. The Tulsa County District Attorney has yet to file formal charges against Smith.

Chazz Holly’s funeral was Friday in Collinsville.

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(c)2015 the Claremore Daily Progress (Claremore, Okla.)

Visit the Claremore Daily Progress (Claremore, Okla.) at claremoreprogress.com

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Topics: t000002458,t000027866,t000149877,t000027879

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