Sheriff’s Department receives two calls Monday related to local deaths within minutes of each other

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, June 4, 2019

This story has been updated to reflect that the county tax assessor employee did not enter the home, but did report the fact that something was wrong at the Carriere address. It also now identifies the man who drowned in Hide-A-Way Lake.

Investigators with the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department received two calls within minutes of each other in relation to the deaths of two county residents Monday morning.

The first call was received at 10:54 a.m. from a tax assessor working in the Carriere area after the county employee noticed something was odd while checking on the status of a home said to be vacant. Tax Assessor Gary Beech said the assessor was sent to the home after a county resident expressed interest in purchasing the home from a tax sale because that person thought the home was vacant. When the assessor arrived, he noticed the door was open, so he called the Sheriff’s Department.

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Chief Investigator Marc Ogden said investigators were sent to the scene, and found skeletal remains in the home, which are currently being identified.

Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage said that it appeared as though the resident of the home lived alone, so his office is still looking for the next of kin. Ogden said that through his investigation it appears as though no one had heard from the resident of the home in more than a year. Turnage said it appears as though the resident had been deceased for an extended period of time.

In a separate case, investigators were called to the lodge in Hide-A-Way Lake at 11 a.m. after staff noticed what appeared to be a body floating in the lake.

Investigation into the case showed that the deceased was last seen swimming in the lake at about 7 p.m. Sunday by a security guard. The guard passed by the lake again later that evening to check on the swimmer, but did not see anyone.

Ogden said the man’s cause of death is currently being investigated and next of kin are being notified.

Turnage said that as of Tuesday morning, the next of kin has been notified. The deceased was identified as 18-year-old Jonathan Samuel Lopez, of West Lakeshore Drive, Carriere.

More on these cases, including the identities of the deceased, will be reported when additional information is released.