Meridian Star

September 5, 2013

Body found in storage building

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Authorities are trying to get answers surrounding the discovery Wednesday morning of a body in an old storage building on Sixth Street.

    According to Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler, the body was so decomposed that he could not determine for certain if the person was male or female, white or black, or what the cause of death may have been.

    "I estimate the person has been dead for more than a week judging by the amount of decomposition," Cobler said. "An autopsy has been ordered to find the answers to our questions."

    The old storage building is located adjacent to the City of Meridian dog pound and across Sixth Street from the closed Smith Bakery building. Cobler said workers at a shop next to the storage building reported to authorities a foul smell around 10 a.m. MPD officers arrived minutes later and confirmed there was a body inside the building.

    Cobler said a handgun was found near the head of the body but he reiterated there was no way, given the condition of the body, for him to say how the person died.

    MPD detectives wore face masks whenever they entered the building to help them cope with the smell as they processed the scene. MPD protocol calls for the scene to be processed as a homicide to ensure all of the evidence is collected from the scene. Now detectives will wait to see if the cause of death was by suicide, natural causes, or if foul play was responsible for the death.

    Cobler said judging from the surroundings inside the storage building the person had been using the structure for a place to stay for quite some time prior to death.