Found remains bring family hope for closure

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Brookhaven resident believes human remains found in PikeCounty to be those of his grandmother, who has been missing sinceJuly 22, 2007.

Ruby Lee Wells, 72, 1109 Moore’s Ave., McComb, was last seen ather residence last summer, officials said. An Alzheimer’s patient,Wells had a history of wandering off.

“I kind of feel like it’s her because of the area it was foundin, the Higgins area. That’s where she lived,” said Wells’ grandsonBobby Thomas.

Officials said a dog that lived in the area had brought home ahuman skull, a long bone and a shoe. The discovery kicked off aweekend hunt in the woods near Higgins Middle School football fieldand the north side of Higgins Drive just outside McComb city limitsby McComb and Pike County rescue workers, including a cadaverdog.

“They said it was missing its teeth and she didn’t have anyteeth,” Thomas said of his grandmother.

Thomas said his family has been told that the remains will besent to a lab to be DNA tested since there is no way to checkdental records. He said it might be weeks before his family knowsthe outcome of the analysis, but that they have waited this long,and can be patient a few more weeks.

“We’re just praying for closure, and to have a memorial and togo on with our lives, have an answer,” he said. “This would give ussome kind of closure.”

It has been the family’s faith in God and the loving support ofhis church, First Baptist Church, that has kept Thomas afloat inthe hard times his family has faced since his father was killed inan auto accident just before his grandmother went missing. He saidthat the community’s interest and support has also been ablessing.

“We just wanted to let the community know she’s still missing,because everyone’s asking have we heard anything, and we stilldon’t know anything,” he said. “We just hope we’ve got somethinghere and that we’ll be able to lay her to rest.”

If the remains turn out not to belong to Wells, other LincolnCounty residents are holding their breaths to see if it couldpossibly be Virginia Ratliff, 83, who disappeared Feb. 28, 2008.Pike County authorities say there is also a chance it belongs toDeborah Ann Brock of Jayess, whose abandoned car was found Feb. 5,2004.

“We’re just going to keep praying,” said Thomas.