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Authorities tracking new leads in Ratliff disappearance

Brookhaven police said Tuesday they’ve been looking into twopossible leads to the whereabouts of missing 83-year-old Brookhavenwoman Virginia Ratliff, but the department’s efforts so far havebeen to no avail.

Assistant Police Chief Nolan Jones said his department has beenin contact with the Tunica County Sheriff’s Office as well as theNew Orleans Coroner’s Office in the cases of two sets of remainsfound in recent days.

A former Brookhaven resident living in New Orleans alerted BPD tothe case of a female body found floating in the Mississippi Rivernear New Orleans. The body was thought to be 55-65 years old,around 5 feet 5 inches, and possibly weighed around 119 poundsbefore she died what looks like two to three months ago, accordingto New Orleans Coroner John Gagliano.

“I’ve talked to the coroner down there, and according to the dentalrecords, it’s not Mrs. Ratliff from what we know,” Jones said.

Ratliff is described as a white woman about 5-foot-1 and 135pounds. She went missing Feb. 28 when it is believed she left herhome in her 1999 white mercury to visit her husband at the VAHospital in Jackson.

The other possible lead, Jones said, is a skeletonized body foundin Tunica County Friday.

“The sheriff’s office in Tunica, they don’t know yet if it’s a maleor a female, black or white,” he said. “All the remains are beingsent to the crime lab.”

Doris Butler, 44, was reported missing in Tunica Feb. 3, andauthorities cannot yet rule her out as the identification of thebody.

“They said to send them the dental records on Mrs. Ratliff anyway,”said Jones. “And in a case like this, there’s no telling how longit will take them to find out who that person is.”

Jones said Tunica County authorities told him they guessed the bodymight have been in the elements for three months, but it was onlyspeculation.

“So it’s worth checking that out, too,” he said. “We are trackingdown every lead we get.”