Body found in Miss. believed to be missing woman’s

Published 12:13 am Sunday, September 19, 2010

A body believed to be that of an 81-year-old woman who disappeared in central Mississippi has been found, authorities say.

The body was discovered Friday night after a farmer near Edwards noticed an odor when he went to tend his hogs and called police, Clinton Police Chief Don Byington said.

A weekend autopsy was planned to determine whether the body was that of Ethel Winstead Simpson, who has been missing since Monday, Byington said.

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A man suspected of being involved in the disappearance was arrested Friday in Alabama on charges of robbing and stabbing a man.

James Cobb Hutto III, 39, of Jasper, also was wanted for questioning in the recent death of a relative in Alabama. Hutto was arrested after police pulled him over on a highway while he was driving the missing woman’s car. Authorities say he has been charged with robbing and attempting to kill Mark Ambers Cox, 59, of Opelika.

Investigators believe Hutto befriended Simpson on the walking track at the Baptist Healthplex in Clinton, Byington said. A few hours later, the two were seen driving away in Simpson’s car.

Byington said Simpson took Hutto to a fast food restaurant, then dropped him off at his hotel. He said the two later headed to a Vicksburg casino. They were seen leaving the casino about 11:40 p.m. Monday.

Hutto already was wanted in Alabama because he has failed to register as a sex offender, according to Richard Griffin, supervisory deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service in Jackson.

State corrections officials Hutto was convicted in 2002 of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl and sentenced to two concurrent 10-year terms. He served 3 1/2 years before his release in 2005.