Jul 17, 2014

Body found on area farm identified

Victim had been missing for a week

The body unearthed last week near a field off Reagle Farm Road has been identified as that of Andrew Fine, 40, of Oxford, the sheriff's department confirmed this morning. Fine had been reported missing on July 7, 2014.

The body was found on the property of Johnny Reagle, who was arrested July 14 after brandishing a severed hand at Duffy's Bar & Grill.

Reagle led authorities to the body, which was buried in a shallow grave at the edge of his field.

Subsequent tests have confirmed that the remains and the hand belong to the same person, said Elizabeth Jones, public information officer for the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Jones said the case was being pursued as a criminal investigation, but declined to comment further.

Fine worked as a mechanic at Laughlin Automotive and Body Shop. A 1992 graduate of Yoknapatawpha County High School, he served for two years in the U.S. Navy before returning to Oxford in 1994.

Surviving him are his wife, Cindy, and a brother, Carl, both of Oxford; his mother, Grace Fine, of Gainesville, Fla.; and a sister, Antoinette Walton, also of Gainesville.

Cindy Fine, interviewed by telephone, confirmed that she had helped investigators identify the remains as her husband's and said she was in "absolute shock" over his death.

An active member of Trinity Church, she said her deep faith and the friendships she'd formed through the church were helping sustain her.

"I've always viewed suffering as a test, and this is the biggest test of all," said Fine.

Carl Fine, the victim's brother, could not be reached for comment.

Burial will be private, and Cindy Fine requested donations to Trinity Church in lieu of flowers.
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Jul 15, 2014

Body Found on Area Farm

Connection to severed hand unknown

The scene on Reagle Farm Road
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's investigators reportedly uncovered a body buried on an Oxford area farm.

The body was found late Monday on property belonging to John Reagle, a local farmer who was arrested Monday in possession of a human hand.

The Sheriff's Department confirmed Wednesday afternoon that although Reagle later claimed it was only a strange root, he did, in fact, have a human hand in the plastic storage container he brought to Duffy's Bar & Grill the night of July 13.

Neighbors of the Reagle Farm say several members of the Sheriff's Department spent most of the day Monday at a location along the private dirt road known as Reagle Farm Road.

Authorities were apparently excavating an area alongside Reagle's cotton field and Reagle was reportedly present during the excavation.

Sheriff's Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the discovery of the body or on whether the body found on Reagle's farm is connected to the hand Reagle had in his possession when he was arrested.

Jones refused to release any details about the body, but said an autopsy would be performed to determine the identity and cause of death.

Reagle, who was released on bail this morning, did not return calls requesting comment.
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YCSD seeks witnesses

Authorities asking for public's help in missing persons case

The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department says Oxonian Andrew Fine was reported missing by his wife, Cindy, on Monday, July 7, 2014.

Fine, 40, is 5' 10", 170 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was wearing a light colored short-sleeved shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes when last seen.

Fine's last known whereabouts were at Duffy's Bar & Grill, 2201 Jackson Avenue West the night of July 3.

However, sheriff's investigators say they have an unconfirmed report Fine was seen in the Papa John's parking lot at the corner of Jackson Avenue West and Hathorn Road around 1:30 a.m. on July 4.

Investigators are asking anyone who was at Duffy's Bar & Grill the night of July 3 or who was in the area of Jackson Avenue West and Hathorn Road on July 4 between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. to contact them at 234-XXXX. All calls will be kept confidential.
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Jul 14, 2014

Area farmer arrested after brandishing severed hand

Whereabouts of rest of body, alive or dead, unknown

Local cotton farmer John Reagle was arrested Sunday night at Duffy's Bar and Grill after displaying what he claimed was a human hand to other patrons. Reagle, 43, is a longtime resident of the Oxford area and was described as a regular at Duffy's.

The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department verified Monday morning that they had taken Reagle into custody, but declined to provide details on the charges.

Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones said by telephone that the alleged hand had been taken into evidence for further analysis.
Jones would not say whether the hand had been confirmed as human, or if it is human, whether investigators believe the person it belongs to is still alive or may have been the victim of foul play.

Duffy's bartender, Patrick Mulvaney, said he contacted authorities after observing Reagle showing the hand to several customers.

"He had it in one of those plastic containers like you keep leftovers in," said Mulvaney. "He kept showing that thing to people, and at first, I thought it was just a joke. But some people were getting upset, and when I got a look at it myself, I knew something just wasn't right."

Several Duffy's employees said Reagle had told them that the hand belonged to his former girlfriend, who reportedly has not been seen in Oxford since June.

The same employees added that the hand did not appear to them to be a woman's hand, but said they did not get a close enough look to be sure because Reagle never took the hand out of the plastic container or opened the container to let them get a closer look.

Witnesses who had seen the hand described it as "dirty" and "a weird color." One Duffy's customer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Reagle had opened a corner of the container for him and "the smell was so bad, I almost puked right there on the spot."

Reagle's first court appearance is scheduled for later today.
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