Authorities probing death as homicide

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Authorities said the death of a county man has been ruled ahomicide after autopsy results confirmed a gunshot wound was thecause of death.

Mike DeLaughter, 58, was found dead in a field off Bogue ChittoRoad in eastern Lincoln County Sunday night, where he had beencutting hay for the landowner.

“I don’t believe this was a random act based on what we’ve gotat this point,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing. “Someonehad to know he was back there.”

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DeLaughter’s body is believed to have been in the field next toa small grove of bushes possibly since as early as Saturdaymorning.

“We’re waiting on some more information from the pathologist,but we definitely have a gunshot wound,” said Coroner ClayMcMorris. “We’ll be able to release more information as it becomesavailable from the crime lab.”

DeLaughter’s truck was missing after his body was found, butofficials were able to locate it farther back on the property whereit had been concealed in some bushes.

“It was pulled back on the property where you couldn’t see it,”Rushing said. “I don’t know if they were trying to hide that he wasthere, but it definitely looked like it was parked in an attempt toconceal it.”

Rushing said a team from the Mississippi State Crime Lab cameMonday afternoon to process DeLaughter’s truck for possiblefingerprints or other things that might indicate who might havebeen involved.

“We’re looking for anything we could use to try to determine whomight have moved it,” he said.

Sheriff’s department officials are chasing leads on suspects,Rushing said.

“We’re talking to people that may have information, and we’re inthe process of working the scenes to say who might have been thereand who might be involved,” he said. “At this point we don’t know amotive on it.”

Officials said more information will be released on DeLaughter’sslaying as it is available. Meanwhile, Rushing said, they are alsoasking the public for any information they might have on the eventssurrounding the death.

“Anyone who has any information that might be pertinent to thisinvestigation, please contact us,” he said.

Tips can be called in to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Departmentat (601) 833-5231 or to Lincoln County Crimestoppers at (601)823-0150.

DeLaughter’s funeral services are being handled by RiverwoodFamily Funeral Services, with visitation Tuesday from 5-9 p.m. atRiverwood. The service is at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Riverwood withburial to follow at Union Baptist Church Cemetery.