Thursday, November 8, 2007
Body found burned in car
By SUE WATSON
Local and state agencies are investigating a death in a burned out car found over the weekend off Dogwood Road, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
The burned car was found next to an old cemetery site on Mt. Carmel Road by a hunter Saturday, November 3, around 9 a.m., he said.
“The hunter was riding and checking lease land where he had hunting lease rights when he discovered the badly burned car and notified Marshall County authorities,” Dickerson said. “Upon arrival at the scene, myself and deputies made close observations inside and outside of the car and on the back seat area we observed what appeared to be a badly burned skeleton of human origin.”
Called to the scene to help with the investigation were county coroner John Garrison, and officers with the Mississippi Highway Patrol criminal division and a specialist with the National Auto Theft Bureau (NATB).
Dickerson said the vehicle, which was identified as a late-model Chevrolet, was in ashes - that likely an accelerant had been used to destroy the car and corpse.
NATB helped locate the vehicle identification number from under the car and a tag number in a search that took about two hours, he said.
The vehicle was identified as belonging to an individual in Lexington, Tenn., and Lexington and Tennessee authorities joined the investigation, he said.
Upon additional inquiry the car was discovered to be missing from the area since a previous date. An acquaintance of the vehicle owner was among those believed to be in possession of the car when it was last seen in Lexington, the sheriff said.
“We attempted to connect the vehicle with someone missing in the area that could be connected,” Dickerson said. “We did get the identify of a missing person but do not have a positive identification on the remains.”
The investigation is being treated as a homicide which could have occurred in Marshall County.
“Obviously, we are investigating the case as a homicide,” the sheriff said. “It is in our jurisdiction unless we can prove the homicide occurred elsewhere.”
The joint investigation has developed some very important leads in the case but as yet no one has been charged with a crime, he said.
“I am very hopeful of a possible arrest or arrests in the next few days,” Dickerson said.
The missing person in the Lexington area is a black male, but positive identification of remains will rule in or rule out the name of the victim, he said.
The sheriff said leads indicate a robbery as a possible motive.
“Right now we are looking at a possible robbery-related motive for what we believe to have been a violent death,” he said.
Some evidence in the burned-out vehicle was recovered that may be beneficial to the investigation, he said.
“The care was impounded for a complete forensics search,” he said. “The car was completely gutted.”
The remains of the victim have been sent to the state medical examiner’s office for autopsy.
Although the vehicle was in plain sight, Dickerson said it would not have been visible by routine travel on Dogwood Road.
Anyone with any information that could be helpful to this investigation is asked to contact the sheriff’s department at 552-252-1311 or to call Marshall County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-729-2169.
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