Six months ago, prominent Spring Hill business owner Jim Grimes was gunned down inside his Lynnville barn. Since that time, his wife Dawn has been relentless in her pursuit of those responsible.

“I made him a promise that I would never give up,” she said. “Every day, I make myself get out of bed, I have two businesses to run. I want to honor him and the best way to do that is to continue his legacy through Auto Body Advantage.”

The Grimes own Auto Body Advantage, a body shop with locations in Spring Hill and another in Thompson’s Station.

On Tuesday, Giles County sheriff Kyle Helton announced the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of a suspect has been increased to $1 million. The reward is a compilation of funds from the community, business partners, friends, co-workers and families, according to Helton.

“Mr. Grimes was loved by all who encountered him. He has four children and two grandchildren. He lived and left a legacy of character and faith,” Helton said. “There have been thousands of hours dedicated to the apprehension of the subject or subjects involved. I want the public to know a person or persons of interest still exists in this case.

“The vast working relationships and assistance from the public will bring justice to the Grimes family.”

The outpouring of support to the Grimes family has helped Dawn Grimes in coping with the tragic death of her husband.

“I’m overwhelmed. We know what a good man Jim is, but so does everybody else. For them to acknowledge that, it’s very humbling to our family to see what he meant to so many,” she said.

Spring Hill business owner and Chamber of Commerce board member David St. Charles said this has been a “wake-up call.”

“For years, Jim and I would sit together and we were the two old cranky guys in the back of the room that would poke fun,” he said. “When you have this as your sidekick for so long, and the next time you go he’s not there anymore — it just changes things. It changes your approach to life.”

A person or persons of interest have been identified in the case, investigators have said. Those persons have not cooperated with investigators to this point.

Giles County sheriff’s office investigator Lt. Shane Hunter said he hopes the added reward money will incentivize citizens to cooperate more than they already have, but also to potentially bring national attention to this case.

“We’re all aware of the other cases that are high profile, surrounding the country as we speak,” Hunter said. “We hope this will gain some traction with other entities that have the technology and capability to assist us to further this investigation to the platform of being able to make an arrest.”

Hunter alluded to a piece of technology available to law enforcement at higher levels that could potentially shine a light on evidence the department has been unable to uncover at this point.

“The TBI and the FBI is solid. They have outstanding resources. We think there is just one piece of the puzzle that we do not have, and we’re hoping that today with this news brief that it would bring that missing piece to the equation,” he said.

Dawn Grimes is appreciative of the support she’s received from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to this point. Locally, the sheriff’s office has become a part of her family, she said.

“These are very unique circumstances. Not taking away from other victims, but the quality of person of Jim Grimes makes this case unique within itself,” Hunter said. “That’s what makes it very difficult in this case. Usually you can find someone who has something negative to say, even if it’s a rumor. But in this case, there has absolutely been nothing.”

The $1 million reward is the largest in Giles County history, according to Hunter. To be eligible for the reward, you must contact the Giles County Sheriff’s Department tip line at 931-638-2358 or the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND.

Chris Yow has served as the managing editor for the Trussville (Ala.) Tribune and, most recently, the Spring Hill Advertiser News. He has worked as a sports editor and has covered high school sports in different capacities for 18 years.

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