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Hardy House heir found dead

Photo submitted / The Hardy House was built in the mid-19th century by Capt. Jack Hardy and once stood on a 3,000-acre estate. Thomas Hardy Little was Hardy’s great-great-grandson.

Photo submitted / The Hardy House was built in the mid-19th century by Capt. Jack Hardy and once stood on a 3,000-acre estate. Thomas Hardy Little was Hardy’s great-great-grandson.

Thomas Hardy Little, an heir of the historic Hardy House in Brookhaven, was found dead in his Jackson apartment Sunday.

Hinds County Deputy Medical Examiner Rene Crawford said the Jackson Police Department and Jackson Fire Department discovered Little after neighbors began complaining of an odor coming from apartment.

Thomas Hardy Little

Thomas Hardy Little

Upon arrival, Crawford found Little in a state of decay, she said. Based on his phone records, Little had not made or received a phone call since Feb. 3 — his 60th birthday — leading Crawford to believe he had been dead for more than a month.

Crawford said at this time she believes Little died of natural causes but is still waiting on the official medical report. He had a history of coronary issues and was obese, she said.

Crawford contacted Mississippi Mortuary Services after she was unable to find any family. Little was the only son of the deceased Catherine Hardy Little and James Little.

“We are looking for any family members — anybody that can prove his lineage,” Crawford said. “Any cousins or children. He supposedly had a cousin named Susan Little and an ex-wife named Nora.”

Capt. Jack C. Hardy, a former ship captain with a taste for horse racing, built the iconic Hardy House, located on Natchez Avenue at S. Jackson Street, in either 1867 or 1877, depending on the source. The house stands as one of eight Italianate-style homes left in Mississippi. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

One of Hardy’s sisters, Tallulah Ragsdale, reportedly lived in the house. She was one of the state’s first female writers. Her first novel “The Crime of Philip Guthrie,” was written in Brookhaven and published in 1892.

Little is the great-great grandson of Hardy and inherited the Hardy House in 1995, after his parent’s deaths. According to county documents, Little sold the house to Elena and Roy Segers in July 2005. U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee for the Structured Asset Investment Loan Trust, foreclosed on the house in 2011 after Segers’ death. Louis and Heather Melancon of Springfield, Virginia currently hold the deed to the house.

Any relatives of Little are asked to contact Crawford at the Hinds County Coroner’s Department at 601-973-5505.

Little was arrested in 2001 after authorities learned of a plan to set fire to the Hardy House in an effort to collect on an insurance policy. He served prison time after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder for hiring someone to kill his aunt and a former girlfriend in 1990. The plot was discovered before it was carried out.