Transient’s body found near interstate

Published 5:00 am Friday, June 9, 2006

The decomposed body of a 60-year-old transient from Ohio wasfound along Interstate 55 at Exit 40 Thursday morning, sparking aninvestigation by local police, the Mississippi Bureau ofInvestigation and the state Crime Lab.

Brookhaven Police Assistant Chief Nolan Jones said police werenotified at 11:11 a.m. by Mississippi Department of Transportationemployees who discovered a decomposing body while cutting grass inan area between the interstate and the southbound exit ramp toBrookway Boulevard.

The body lay at the edge of a small stand of trees. Authoritiesdo not suspect foul play in the man’s death.

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A rustic campsite and a wallet were found among the trees, saidBrookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson. An old nylon tent, asleeping bag and some small food items were found in the campsite,added Brookhaven Police Department Detective Roger Wilson.

Police used papers found in the wallet to help identify the man,Henderson said. The man’s name is being withheld pendingnotification of next of kin.

The man had family ties to southeast Mississippi, but no directlinks to Lincoln County, the chief said.

“He has no ties here that we can find at this time,” Hendersonsaid.

Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris said it was difficult todetermine how long the man had been at the site because recent hotweather would have increased the rate of decomposition.

“We don’t know how long he’s been there,” McMorris said. “It’sbeen a while.”

The body was moved to Mississippi Mortuary Thursday night for anautopsy, McMorris said. The condition of the body prevented apreliminary finding of whether a crime was committed in the death,the coroner said.

“That would be left up to the pathologist. I don’t expect it,”McMorris said.

McMorris and Henderson said there did not appear to be anyevidence of violence.

Police first made contact with the man in 2002, Wilson said, buthe moved around frequently and often left Brookhaven for extendedperiods of time.