MARYVILLE (WATE) – A Maryville woman made her first appearance in court on Monday after being linked to a murder near Butterfly Gap Loop road where human remains were found last week.
Karen Walker Headrick faces charges for criminal homicide and abuse of a corpse.
“I knew this was her from the very beginning when I found out my sister was gone,” Linda Gentry said. “I just broke down because I just knew who did it. It was her daughter. I have no doubt.”
Family members believe the remains belong to the defendant’s mother Mary Ruth Walker, who was went missing in May.
Walker’s siblings said the pair had a troubled relationship, with Walker even filing an order of protection against her own daughter in 2012. The report documented that Headrick punched Walker in the face and she had to be treated at the hospital.
“I wasn’t surprised because of the history between my sister Ruthie and her daughter,” Donald Patty, Walker’s brother, said. “Karen got in arguments with her over certain things and she actually beat up Ruthie.”
Dorothy Knouff, who lived with Walker for six months after her husband died, said her sister endured continued abuse and lived in fear.
“I’ve just seen her do this so many times for greed and envy that you knew it was going to happen,” Knouff said. “It was just a matter of when.”
Walker’s family wants answers and asks that justice be served for their sister.
“I was her to get the maximum, whatever it is that they can get,” Gentry said. “You wouldn’t even think to believe that someone could do this to a human being and she needs to pay the price for what she’s done to my sister Ruthie.”
An autopsy was completed over the weekend but investigators have not released the identity of the remains.
Headrick is scheduled to appear in court on July 10 in Blount County.