GILES COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – More than 26 years after a Giles County man was found dead in a landfill, his 69-year-old wife has been arrested for first degree murder in the case.
Larry Hughes, a cattle farmer and businessman, was reported missing by his wife Mary Ann on March 28, 1990.
After an extensive search, his remains were found 16 days later in a landfill. Authorities said Larry Hughes, who was around 6 feet 4 inches tall and 250 pounds, died of two gunshot wounds to the back of his head.
Authorities said a homicide investigation immediately began but an arrest was not made in the case until Tuesday after Mary Ann Hughes was indicted by a grand jury.
District Attorney Brent Cooper credited detectives for working tirelessly on the case for years.
“No one should have to wonder who is responsible for the death of a loved one like the Hughes family has done for 26 years,” he said.
Cooper said authorities know Hughes had help in her husband’s murder. He said she would not have been able to move his body without help. That person has not yet been identified, but Cooper said they have a good idea who it was.
“Every person who played the smallest role in this homicide needs to be brought to justice,” he said.
While a motive has not been publicly released, Cooper said there was some strife between the couple at the time and they were having problems in their marriage.
Hughes collected a $100,000 insurance policy after her husband’s murder.
“We’re not saying that was the motive in this case, but that money was paid out as a result of his death,” Cooper said.
He added the Hughes’ home was sold shortly after the murder.
Larry Hughes’ brother Dean spoke to the media briefly Thursday morning where he called the arrest a relief.
“It’s an answer to my prayer,” he said, adding he has not spoken to Mary Ann in quite some time, but he has forgiven her.
“I suspected this for a while, but we don’t ever know and we didn’t know and I didn’t want to accuse her. I’m sure law enforcement knows more than I do. It’s a relief to know that justice is going to be done in the end. He was very dear to me,” he said.
Mary Ann Hughes is being held on a $400,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 28.