UPDATE: It's been nine years since a former public works employee was killed and Thursday investigators have a suspect in custody.

Mallory Vaughn was indicted by a grand jury in the 2009 death of Franklin Bonner.

Vaughn is charged with murder.

Mallory Vaughn turned himself in on Wednesday at the Hamilton County jail.

Franklin Bonner’s family says they've asked for the case to be re-examined several times over the years. We're told a call from Bonner’s granddaughter on the anniversary of his death is what got the case re-opened and led to an arrest.

“I can't even explain the feeling, but I just know it's the best Father's Day present, not to give to my father but my father gave to me,” says Stephanie Penson, Franklin Bonner’s daughter.

Stephanie Penson says she has prayed for justice since the day her father was killed.

“I just remember being on my knees praying for strength,” says Penson.

Channel 3 was there when police found 68-year-old Franklin Bonner’s body inside his home on Enterprise Lane.

The home was ransacked and Bonner had duct tape over his mouth and nose, which caused him to suffocate.

It was Chattanooga’s first homicide in 2009.

“I felt at that time I had enough faith and strength in me that if I would’ve just prayed, God would’ve brought him back to life,” says Penson.

Nine years later, investigators have arrested Mallory Vaughn, who is one of two people they say is charged with killing Penson's father.

“We knew this individual was the prime suspect all along,” Penson says. “We just couldn’t say anything about it.”

As Penson continues to honor the man she remembers as humble, cool and giving, she hopes other families are inspired to fight for justice.

“Keep hope alive. Don’t give up. Don’t doubt,” Penson says. “Sometimes you can't rush things but you can still let them know you're still knocking on the door. I'm not going to give up.”

The District Attorney's office says Vaughn’s then 13-year-old female accomplice was taken into custody on Tuesday.

State law says she cannot be identified unless her case is transferred from juvenile court to criminal court because she was a minor when it happened.


PREVIOUS STORY: A Chattanooga man indicted in a cold case homicide is on the run.

Mallory Aunte Vaughn, 36, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of felony murder, robbery and especially aggravated robbery in the 2009 murder of a retired Chattanooga Public Works employee.

The victim, Franklin A Bonner, was found murdered inside his home on January 16, 2009. A medical examiner said Bonner was suffocated to death.

Bonner was known for selling marijuana and having large amounts of cash.

A member of Bonner's family recently reached out the DA's Cold Case Unit. This led to a review of the case, a spokesperson for the DA's Cold Case Unit explained. Unidentified latent fingerprints were submitted to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, resulting in a match to Vaughn.

"We could just shout. We are so happy. Not so much relieved because nothing can replace him. We miss him. We are happy these people will finally get what they deserve," said Bonner's wife Linda. 

The spokesperson added that Vaughn did not murder Bonner alone. Investigators believe he had a 13-year-old female accomplice. She was arrested Tuesday morning.

Vaughn is on the run on unrelated warrants. The DA's Cold Case Unit is asking the public to help find him. Please contact the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office at 423-209-7000 or the DA’s Cold Case Unit at 423-209-7470.