Homicide case under investigation

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Investigation continues into the death of Bridgette Haley, a 46-year-old Cannon County woman.

Arrested in the case is Robert Troy Whipple, 47, identified as a homeless Cannon County resident.

Haley’s body was discovered in the passenger seat of a 2001 Ford Taurus following a 15-minute chase early Sunday, April 27 by Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputies and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The case was turned over to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation following the wounding of Franklin County Deputy Sgt. Milton Brinkley, who was stabbed by Whipple shortly before he was taken into custody.
A TBI spokesman said the case is still under investigation with authorities attempting to determine where the fatal assault took place.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Chris Guess said investigators are doing interviews and reviewing convenience store surveillance tapes from five different counties to determine where Whipple went.
At this point, investigators are unsure how Whipple and Haley wound up together.

Funeral services for Haley were held Thursday (May 1) at the Chapel of Woodbury Funeral Home.

She is survived by her parents, Herbert (Barbara) Haley of Woodbury and stepmother, Gayle Haley of Chattanooga; children, Nicholas Young and Cheyenne Sissom both of Woodbury; siblings, Gina Simpson of Woodbury, Tina (Greg) Cantrell of McMinnville, Jeff (Vickie) Haley and Eddie Trotter both of Chattanooga, Kim (Brent) Beasley and Dena (Mark) Bauman both of Woodbury. 

She was preceded in death by her mother, Virginia Campbell Vance; grandparents, Carl and Beatrice Haley and Hubert and Emma Campbell.

She was a store clerk at Love’s Truck Stop.

Haley’s body was discovered in the Taurus after Whipple was apprehended by Franklin County Sgt. Brinkley following a brief chase on foot.

Authorities said Whipple had ditched his car in a field off a dead-end road in Decherd, but Brinkley stopped the suspect on foot a short distance away. Turning around to confront the deputy, Whipple was armed with a long, hunting knife which he used to slice Brinkley’s right wrist and hand.

The deputy pushed Whipple away into a ditch and officers were able to take him quickly into custody. Brinkley was treated and released from Southern Tennessee Medical Center.

Only after Whipple was in custody did police discover Haley’s body. Preliminary autopsy results indicate that Haley died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Police had pursued Whipple after he was spotted lingering at a stop sign. They suspected that he was driving drunk.
Whipple was initially charged with DUI, manufacture, delivery or sell of schedule II, possession of drug paraphernalia, habitual offender of a motor vehicle, felony evading, resisting arrest and aggravated assault.. Charges are pending in Haley’s death. Whipple is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond.

Whipple is scheduled to appear in front of Sessions Court Judge Thomas Faris at 8 a.m. on Aug. 14.

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