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Trial in 16-year-old murder case awaits DNA test results

Holly Marie Simmons

Holly Marie Simmons was reported missing from her home in Buchanan Dam in November 2006. The young mother was last seen leaving her 17-year-old daughter at the school bus stop. The man charged with her murder was indicted in May 2021 and is slated to go to trial once the district attorney has received DNA test results. Courtesy photos

A second status hearing in the murder case against Jimmy Don Wolfenbarger was set for Nov. 10. The first one was Aug. 25 in Llano County District Court, where District Attorney Sonny McAfee said he is waiting for DNA test results before setting a trial date.

Wolfenbarger, 58, is charged in the death of Holly Marie Simmons, whose body was found at the bottom of Inks Lake below the Texas 29 bridge on July 7, 2009. She was reported missing in November 2006. She lived in Buchanan Dam at the time. Wolfenbarger, who was her landlord when she disappeared, was indicted on May 3, 2021, 12 years after her body was found.

Wolfenbarger was living in Lubbock when he was indicted. He turned himself in to the Lubbock County Jail nine days after an arrest warrant was issued. He was released after posting a $2 million bond. 

The indictment charges Wolfenbarger with “intentionally or knowingly” causing the death of Simmons “by strangulation” on or around Nov. 28, 2006.

Simmons was last seen that day dropping off her then-17-year-old daughter at a school bus stop near their home. Her body was found by recreational divers almost three years later. 

A Facebook page was set up by her family, which includes two daughters, in an effort to keep attention on the case so it would not be forgotten.

“Every day we get one step closer to trial,” said her daughter, Ashley Simmons. “We are going to trial. We are not going to let this go.” 

Ashley Simmons also told that the community has been amazing in its support of the family.

“They didn’t give up on us like we didn’t give up on this case,” she said.