Courtesy photos
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department is looking for a person of interest (below) and the victim’s pickup (above).

Courtesy photo
The victim’s dog is also missing, and the family is offering a reward. If you have seen Khava, please call the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department, 662-252-1311.

Drowning investigation continues

There have been plenty of leads from the public concerning the investigation into the death of Samuel Deward Smith, whose body was found floating face up in Chewalla Lake Saturday, July 29.

Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said there is an intense investigation into the whereabouts of a person of interest and the pickup he was driving, both seen on store video in the area. The sheriff’s department is also trying to find the victim’s dog who was traveling with him.

He said four states have issued BOLOs on the pickup and the person of interest in the investigation.

“The person of interest was seen July 26, 2017, at 8:59 a.m. at Lake Center Grocery at the turn onto Higdon Road off Highway 178,” Sheriff Dickerson said.

The sheriff said investigators have reason to believe Smith was already dead when the video was taken at Lake Center Grocery and the person of interest was in flight from Marshall County.

A short time after the person of interest left the store in the pickup, he is believed to have asked directions for the quickest route to Interstate 55, and he was en route to Louisiana.

Several county road employees spoke with the person, Dickerson said.

The person of interest had mud and swamp-type grass on his shoes and trousers, like grass at the lake where the body was found, he said.

Authorities are treating the investigation as a homicide.

“We have witnesses who saw the person of interest, the victim, and the victim’s dog walking in Chewalla Lake Park prior to the death of the victim,” the sheriff said. “Since that time the person of interest has been seen at least twice in the victim’s pickup. And the victim’s dog has mysteriously disappeared.”

Authorities believe Smith had carried fairly large amounts of cash, credit cards and debit cards in his wallet. The wallet and cell phone of the victim were missing.

Although the person of interest was spotted in Senatobia on business video, he has not used any credit cards or debit cards and the phone is turned off, the sheriff said.

Dickerson said Smith, prior to coming to Chewalla Lake, had left his grandparents’ house at a location near Alexandria, La. A newspaper from Alexandria was found on the bank near the location of the body in the lake.

Authorities also believe the person of interest got in the vehicle with the deceased in Louisiana.

The search for the person of interest, the pickup and dog has been placed with the NCIC (National Crime Information Center), as well as via teletype and telephone to all agencies in the four states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi), the sheriff said.

The pickup would be easy to spot because it is silver with a light-colored door on the driver’s side. Dickerson said the dog was not seen in the pickup on video taken outside Lake Center Grocery.

The incident has been widely publicized and a number of agencies are searching for the person of interest and the pickup.

Dickerson said he hopes the dog, friendly by nature, and beautiful in appearance, will be found and reported to authorities. He said he hopes someone may have picked up the dog, not knowing how it came to the area.

He said he plans to post photos of the dog in various areas in an effort to get it returned to the family.


Smith’s family has offered a $2,000 reward for the return of Khava, the victim’s pet.

Smith’s brother, Ray Moore, said the family hopes to find the dog to have something to remember of their loved one.

Smith’s funeral was held in central Louisiana, Sunday, Aug. 6.

Anyone who finds a dog resembling the one in the photograph accompanying this story is urged to contact the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department at 662-252-1311.

The family will make arrangements with the sheriff’s department to come for the dog, Moore said.

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388

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