Paige Johnson was last seen alive leaving a party in 2010

By Chris Harris
July 29, 2020 09:55 AM
Paige Johnson
Paige Johnson
| Credit: Kentucky State Police

Nearly ten years after being identified as the prime suspect in her disappearance, a 32-year-old man has been indicted in Kentucky in connection with the death of 17-year-old Paige Johnson, PEOPLE confirms.

The charges against Jacob Bumpass come four months after the body of Johnson was discovered near Williamsburg Township in Clermont County.

Johnson, who had a baby daughter, was last seen alive on Sept. 23, 2010, as she was leaving a party with friends.

Bumpass, according to investigators, also attended the party. He was 22 at the time, investigators said at a press conference announcing the indictment.

Bumpass allegedly told police in 2010 he dropped Johnson off at a residence in Covington, Kentucky, around 1 a.m.

Johnson lived in nearby Florence.

Bumpass has been charged with tampering with physical evidence and abuse of a corpse. He is not charged with murder.

Investigators alleged at the press conference there were holes in Bumpass' story about dropping Johnson off, and that he has been questioned several times over the last decade about Johnson's disappearance.

Jacob Bumpass
Jacob Bumpass
| Credit: WLWT News

At this point, officials still do not know how Johnson died, which precludes the filing of homicide or murder charges.

Speaking to WLWT, Johnson's sister, Brittany Haywood, expressed relief that, after years of hoping, there has been an arrest.

"I am so happy." Haywood told the station. "It's been tears of joy all day to know that he's behind bars."

Johnson's mother, Donna Johnson, added that a conviction can't bring her daughter back, but said the arrest was a step in the right direction.

Paige Johnson
Paige Johnson
| Credit: Kentucky State Police

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"I'm going to take today to be happy," she said. "I'm going to do that for her, for my family, for her siblings, her daughter, going to be happy today."

Bumpass will stand before a judge later Wednesday for his arraignment.

He is being held without bond, and attorney information for him was not immediately available.