Believed homeless man found dead in cemetery

Published 7:21 pm Wednesday, January 3, 2007

A man who is believed to be homeless was found dead in a local cemetery with no form of identification on him except a prescription bottle.

On Friday, a visitor to Hart Chapel Cemetery found the body. Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Chris Lott said the deceased, unofficially identified as James Matthews, 64, no known address, was discovered in the cemetery on Dupont Hart’s Chapel Road at about 3 p.m. by the visitor. The visitor, whom the sheriff’s department did not identify, called the Sheriff’s Department and deputies were dispatched. The cause of death is believed to be of natural causes, Lott said.

Deputy Coroner Dempsey Seal said the only identification on the man was a prescription pill bottle that was given to a James Matthews in Texas when he suffered what doctors believed to be a heart attack. Seal said he is still trying to obtain an official identification. He said the man now known as Matthews also had a large bag next to him when he was discovered that contained a number of personal belongings, supporting the belief the deceased was homeless.

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Seal approached the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors during their Tuesday morning meeting about county liability to have the body cremated after five days.