Paige Johnson’s family thankful after suspect arrested: ‘She’s not out there alone anymore’

The Northern Kentucky teenager disappeared in 2010.
WKYT News at 4:30 PM
Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 7:21 AM EDT
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KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (FOX19) - A man has been arrested in connection to the disappearance and death of Paige Johnson, leaving Johnson’s family hopeful they may soon find out what happened.

A Clermont County grand jury indicted Jacob Bumpass Tuesday for tampering with evidence and abuse of a corpse.

According to prosecutors, Bumpass has been the prime suspect in the case since the start of the investigation. Police said he was the last person to see Johnson alive. He claimed he had dropped her off in Covington prior to her vanishing in September 2010.

However, investigators believe Bumpass’s story was a lie. Their evidence shows he was in Clermont County at some point on the night Johnson disappeared.

In March 2020, Johnson’s remains were found in a wooded area in Clermont County.

“I wonder if, you know, he thinks about her, because we think about her every day,” Donna Johnson, Paige Johnson’s mother, said. “There’s not a day that has gone by that we have not thought about her and missed her so much.”

Johnson’s mother, Donna, and Johnson’s sister, Brittany Haywood, say they have both had encounters with Bumpass. Days after Johnson disappeared, Donna said she found Bumpass and confronted him.

“I actually tracked him down and found his house within the first couple of days she was missing, and I knocked on his door,” Donna said. “He wasn’t expecting me, and he couldn’t even look me in the eye, kept looking at the ground, pushing his hair back, and dismissed me.”

As for Haywood, she said that she and Johnson knew Bumpass because they had mutual friends.

“It would just be like at parties and different things, so my relationship with him wasn’t extremely close, and hers wasn’t either, but with her being 17, not having a car. He had a car,” Haywood said. “You know, you’re 17, you’re naive and way too trusting.”

Now that Bumpass is in custody, Johnson’s family members say they want to know exactly what happened to Johnson, as difficult as it may be.

“I just want to know the truth of that night,” Donna said. “It’s like, I really need to know it.”

If Bumpass is convicted of both charges, he could get a sentence of up to four years. It is not enough time in Johnson’s family eyes, but it is something.

Now, they say they are looking forward to finally having a funeral, giving them a chance to grieve and say goodbye.

“It’s never gonna be over for us. Until I die, I’m gonna feel this pain, but at least we have her,” Donna said. “She’s not out there alone anymore, and at least he’s been arrested, so it’s a good day today.”

Johnson’s family plans to have a memorial event when Johnson’s remains are returned to them. There is a GoFundMe page in place to connect donations to help cover the cost.

Bumpass is set to appear in court on Wednesday morning. He is currently in the Clermont County Jail.

Investigators say the case is not closed, and they will continue actively investigating as more charges are possible.

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