Aug 31, 2021

Detectives confirm nail gun as weapon

Suspicious car seen

The subject of a Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff Department murder investigation likely was killed with a nail gun, according to department spokeswoman Elizabeth Jones.

Jones confirmed the suspected murder weapon Tuesday, saying that the nail gun was found next to the body of real-estate agent Annette Wyatt on the floor of her office.

Wyatt was discovered dead Sunday by a colleague at the Harte Agency, located inside the strip mall at 1923 University Avenue.

She had what appeared to be at least one puncture wound in her neck, but Jones declined to speculate on the exact cause of death until receiving the coroner's report. It's unclear when that report will be completed and released to the public.

Owner of nearby business expresses safety concerns

In the meantime, Yoknapatawpha County investigators have been interviewing people associated with Wyatt and the Harte Agency. But, as of Tuesday, they haven't named any suspects or made any arrests connected with the case.

This is the fifth murder in Yoknapatawpha County since the start of the year, and residents say they're worried about their otherwise peaceful community turning so violent.

"It's frightening," said Tom Banks, who owns Sweet Treats in the strip mall next to the Harte Agency. "You walk around thinking you're safe, and then these murders keep happening."

Banks said he became even more concerned after learning the latest victim was killed next door to his shop.

"I guess no place is safe anymore," Banks said. "Not even here."

Banks described Wyatt as a pleasant woman who always smiled, waved and chatted with him and others in the strip mall. He said she'll be missed.

Victim's neighbors report suspicions

Wyatt's neighbors also expressed sadness, saying she was friendly and helpful.

"She made sure my yard was mowed all last summer when I was recovering from surgery," said Sylvia Phelps, who lives next door to Wyatt's residence.

Phelps had no idea who would kill Wyatt but said she became suspicious of a strange vehicle parked in the victim's driveway several times during the past few weeks.

"It would drive by her house slowly, then back up and drive by again," Phelps said. "Sometimes, the car would just sit there. I only saw the driver once, but it was at night, and I couldn't get a good look."

Doug Wright, who lives two houses down from Wyatt's residence, also remembers the car. He said it was a white sedan but didn't know the make or model.

When asked about the vehicle, Jones declined to say whether detectives knew about it.

"We are following all leads," Jones said. "That's all I can tell you."

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