Apr 28, 2014

More body parts found

Body parts found in and around Yoknapatawpha County
Locations in and around Yoknapatawpha County
where dismembered body parts were found

Are they related to head found in Taylor?

Following on the (ahem) heels of the discovery of a severed head in Taylor on April 26, the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department confirmed today that four more body parts have been discovered in adjoining counties.

Sheriff's Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones said the body parts were found over the last several weeks.

On April 3, 2014, a severed arm was found in a gravel pit in Toccopola in Pontotoc County, east of Oxford.
Twelve days later and 45 miles west, another arm was discovered in Enid Lake between Batesville and Water Valley in Panola County.

Two feet were found 24 miles south-southwest of the Toccopola location and 55 miles southeast of the Batesville location in a Bruce cotton field in Calhoun County.

The feet were found on April 22, 2014, just four days before the severed head was discovered near a possible ritual site in Taylor.

Locals shocked

Trevor Gibson, who found the arm in Enid Lake while on his lunch break, was understandably disturbed after making the discovery.

"At first, I thought it was a big snake," the 52-year-old described. "It wasn't moving, so I thought it was dead. I went up to it, and then it was pretty clear that it wasn't no snake. I said to myself, 'Why, that's some fella's arm there.'"

While the YCSD has not publicly confirmed the gender of the head found in Taylor, Jones said the other body parts are believed to be from one or more females.

Jones said that DNA tests are being conducted to determine whether a link exists between any of the body parts.

Serial killer?

While some people have wondered whether these gruesome discoveries are indications that a serial killer is at work in North Mississippi, law enforcement officials across all the involved jurisdictions discount the suggestion.

"If you ask me, this is the work of one sick individual," said Pontotoc County sheriff J. A. Drexel. "Serial killers are for movies and television. We don't have that kind of thing around here."

Sheriff Drexel said no evidence of occult activity was found at the Toccopola scene nor, to his knowledge, at the scenes in Panola and Calhoun counties.

If Sheriff Drexel is correct, what does that say about the rumored evidence of voodoo rituals found in Taylor?
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Apr 27, 2014

Severed head found in Taylor

Evidence at the scene points to occult influences?

Crime scene location south of Oxford
When local farmer Tucker Allison contacted the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department to report vandalism on his Taylor property, he never imagined what that might lead to.

According to Allison, his 11-year-old son and a friend were playing Saturday morning when they stumbled upon what Allison described as a strange ritual site in a clearing beside a creek.

"There's kids that come out here cow-tipping from time to time. Sometimes they spray-paint something, but I've never seen anything like this around here," Allison told Crime Beat. "I knew as soon as I seen it something wasn't right about it, and I called 911 right off."

Responding to the father's 911 call, sheriff's officers investigated the reported vandalism and discovered a secondary scene where reportedly they found a bucket containing a human head floating in an unidentified chemical solution.

The vandalism scene, which was the subject of the initial report, offered its own unusual evidence, including the remains of a campfire, a burned wooden box, empty rum bottles and a dead chicken among other evidence.

Whitehead told said he told police that the chicken most likely came from his coop. "I recall missing a chicken several weeks back, but I thought it was coyotes," the Taylor farmer said. "In a situation like that, you never consider that a crime is involved."

Similar incidents nearby?

The finding of the head comes amid burgeoning rumors that other body parts have been found this month in the neighboring counties of Calhoun and Panola.

"I think the cops just don't want everybody to get keyed up over this so they're not talking," said Tim Hillman, a Batesville resident. "But there comes a time when we need to know whether or not we should keep our kids locked up in the house."

PIO Jones would not comment on the alleged discoveries of other body parts, saying only, "the department has mounted an intense investigation into this matter and will release more information as it becomes available. We must balance the public's need to know with the department's need to solve this case."
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Apr 9, 2014

Which is worse: homicide or neglect & fraud? Does it matter?

The Jerry Shaw murder and the Yoknapatawpha Acres scandal

A source close to the Jerry Shaw murder investigation tells Crime Beat that the sheriff's department recently got fingerprints from multiple suspects to compare to prints found at the crime scene in an effort to identify the person responsible for Shaw's death.

Certainly, a killer should be held accountable for what he or she did, but given the revelations about allegedly rampant neglect and fraud at Yoknapatawpha Acres that have come to light in the aftermath of Shaw's death, who's the real bad guy here?

The stories coming out of the nursing home are appalling from bogus fees being charged on top of the standard rates to patients' wounds being left to fester. Patients' families and members of the Oxford community alike have been outraged by the discoveries.

There is talk of a looming class action lawsuit against Yoknapatawpha Acres, its parent company Bundren Healthcare Management Inc., and the recently-arrested former manager Richard Landrigan.

Though nothing has been proven yet, it appears that the late Jerry Shaw was also a participant in the misconduct. If that's the case, does that mitigate the killer's actions? Should it?

Was Shaw responsible, at least in part, for his own death? There are plenty of people who think he got what he deserved. Some have even said the killer should be congratulated, not punished.

But that's not how we work as a society.

Still, we can hope the district attorney will take all the circumstances into consideration if and when the killer is taken into custody, which our contacts in the YCSD say could be very soon.
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