As with most stories that I post it usually begins with a tip. Today was no different, as an anonymous tip rolled in of a death. I grabbed my cell and went to work for a contact name to confirm what I had been told. Sheriff Billy Sollie was actually in the middle of an interview when I called and was kind enough to pause and give me the name of the person I needed to talk to. With a quick google I found the number to East Mississippi Correctional Facility in Lost Gap, I called and asked for Warden Donald Jackson. He was not available, so asked for the spokesperson of the facility and was transferred to the Human Resource Department. I explained who I was and asked if there had been any type of incident today. She said not that she was aware of, but would look into the matter and call me back. Within a few minutes she did call me and told me that all operations were running as normal. So I point blank asked if there had been death at the prison, and she told me no.
I guess I could have dropped the story at this point, but it bugged me , the anonymous tip was certain that it had happened. So I called The Lauderdale County Coroner, Clayton Cobler and ask if he knew of a death at The East Mississippi Correctional Facility. Clayton replied yes, a body had in fact been picked up from the facility. So I called the prison back multiple times to notify them that the information I was given was flawed, I did not get an answer nor a call back.
I’m not saying the young lady lied to me, maybe somehow she didn’t know. But in another life time, I was the Director of Human Resources for a company, and believe it or not HR is the first to be notified when a death occurs at a job. I’m sure there is a investigation underway and at some point a press release may come from the prison. I didn’t know this young man or how he ended up in prison, but somewhere tonight there is a family grieving for a loved one. Let us keep them in our prayers during their time of grief.