Dec 8, 2016

Christmas killer captured

Christmas killer captured
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department officials this morning arrested an employee of Santa's Toy Shoppe in connection with the death of Caroline Jordan, her co-worker.

Nancy Lee Ford, 26, was taken into custody this morning around 9:30, according to Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones.

Jones said the district attorney's office will seek murder charges in connection with Jordan's December 5 death.

Jordan was found dead after a neighbor called 911 to report seeing someone run over Jordan's mailbox and flee the scene. While investigating that incident, a YCSD officer discovered the body.

Morgan Pierce, owner of Santa's Toy Shoppe, later confessed to hitting the mailbox. Pierce, 35, was also a suspect in Jordan's death before Ford was arrested.

Ford is an Oxford native and a longtime employee of Santa's Toy Shoppe. Jones would not comment on a motive in the murder, but people familiar with Ford say she resented Jordan because of events in the workplace.

"Nancy's always been wound tight," said a co-worker of the two women who asked not to be identified. "It was just a matter of time before she did something crazy, but I never thought she'd go this far."

Ford is currently being held at the Yoknapatawpha County jail and is expected to make her first court appearance tomorrow.

A person answering the phone at Ford's residence declined to answer any questions or comment on the arrest.

Friends and neighbors are still struggling to cope with their loss as well as the shock of the murder and learning the identity of the accused killer.

"This is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved," said Bonnie Duncan, Jordan's neighbor. "But this was Carly's favorite time of year, so we'll all try to focus on the joy of the season as much as we can. It's what she would want."
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Dec 6, 2016

Mailbox mishap leads to murder

Santa flees scene

Mailbox mishap leads to murder
A simple 911 call reporting a knocked-over mailbox late Monday night eventually led to a gruesome discovery and a homicide investigation.

Pearidge Road resident Bonnie Duncan reported seeing a black Chevrolet SUV back into her neighbor's mailbox before speeding away. She claims the driver was dressed as Santa.

When a Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department officer attempted to contact someone inside the 107 Pearidge Road residence where the mailbox had been damaged, he received no response.

Concerned for the occupants, YCSD officers conducted a well-being check of the residence and found the body of a young woman lying on the floor. Within minutes, detectives and other investigative personnel were on the scene.

YCSD Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones said it appears the woman was the victim of foul play, but she declined to specify how the victim was killed.

"We are treating this case as a homicide," Jones told reporters. "We're not prepared to name a suspect at this stage of the investigation, but we are looking into some significant leads."

Neighbors said they had seen a number of vehicles parked at the house earlier that evening, and they believed the homeowner had been hosting a party.

According to Jones, no one else was at the residence when YCSD officers arrived, but she confirmed that indications of a recent party were present inside the residence.

Authorities are not yet releasing the victim's identity, but neighbors say she was the owner of the house where her body was found.

"She was a good neighbor and a great friend," Duncan said. "I just can't believe she was murdered."
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Dec 1, 2016

Lamar Park neighbors celebrate kid heroes

Kudzu Kids Melody, Emma, Zach and Rachel
The neighborhood clubhouse was filled to capacity with both people and their pet dogs when the residents threw a Thank You party for the Kudzu Kids, who reunited them with their beloved pets.

The clubhouse was dressed up to the nines. The decorating committee even included Frisbees in the centerpieces to welcome the dogs back home.

The kids — Zach Burgess, Melody Cheever, Rachel McGowan, and Emma Wooten — spent most of the party mingling with the rescued dogs and their owners.

“Lucky is my partner. He’s much more than just a dog. I missed him terribly,” said Ophelia Rickard with tears in her eyes.

Ms. Rickard wasn’t the only one teary-eyed at the party. She is just one of many neighbors who were fortunate enough to have their dogs rescued by the Kudzu Kids.

Franklin Guyton sat outside while his dog, Champ, snoozed next to him. “I knew something was wrong when I didn’t hear my Champ barking,” he said. “He’s never wandered off.”

Nearby, Andy Osborne watched while his dog, Butch, played on the lawn with the Kudzu Kids. "Butch is a member of our family. My wife and I are forever grateful for the Kudzu Kids and their amazing efforts to return him and all the other dogs.”

Mayor Thomas Winfield was also in attendance. “What these kids did for the neighborhood dog owners was extraordinary,” he said. “I can only hope other children strive to follow in their footsteps and be a contributing part of this wonderful community.”

The community caters

Furthering the community spirit of the event, the neighborhood committee had the party catered by local restaurants The Red Fern and The Sweet Shoppe.

Angela Donalson, owner of The Red Fern, said, “I was honored to be asked to cater for the party. As a dog owner myself, I can only imagine what these families went through with their dogs missing.”

Chloe Morgan, owner of The Sweet Shoppe, was so impressed with the Kudzu Kids, she not only made her famous red velvet cupcakes but also baked and donated special doggie treats for the dogs.

Remarkable rescue rewarded

The neighbors chipped in and had a special Thank You plaque made for the Kudzu Kids. The plaque had a paw print and the names of all the dogs they helped save.

The kids attributed their success in locating the missing pets to their teacher, Dr. William Lamar, and what they learned from him at CSI camp.

The Kudzu Kids would not accept a monetary reward for their efforts, so the dog owners have started a scholarship fund for local kids to attend CSI camp each summer.

Kudzu Kid Zach shrugged off the accolades. “This party was a big surprise for us. We were only doing what was right. We're just happy the dogs have been reunited with their families.”
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Local man nabbed in dognapping scheme

Something was wrong in this affluent neighborhood in Oxford. Dogs were going missing. So many that it caught the attention of a group of local kids, who took the initiative to investigate and forward their findings to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

Local man Carl Asher was arrested earlier today and charged with the dog thefts. He could be fined up to $500 and face a maximum of two years in jail for each count if convicted.

As the investigation continues, he may be charged with additional crimes.

Asher allegedly was a brazen thief, taking many of these pets directly from their owners' yards while they were at home.

Once he had the dogs in his possession, Asher reportedly took them to a vacant house where he would keep them until he could return them for a cash reward.

“We’ve never seen so many missing dogs in such a short amount of time,” said Elizabeth Jones, the YCSD Public Information Officer.

Rachel McGowan, one of the local youths responsible for helping crack this case, seemed unaffected by the praise that she and her friends got for helping solve the case.

“We saw something was wrong, and we investigated it,” said Rachel about her and her friends' heroic actions. “It’s what we do.”

All of the dogs have been recovered and returned to their rightful owners.
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