Meridian Star

October 15, 2013

Investigation ongoing in murder case

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

MERIDIAN —     Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie said Monday there has been no new developments in a murder case in which one person has been charged.

    Sollie said investigators are still looking for what he termed as "persons of interest."

    Sollie said Carl Wesley Bell, 50, of 7643 Espey Road, has been charged with two counts of accessory after the fact to murder and felon in possession of a firearm. Sollie said Bell has been placed on $500,000 bond on each of the accessory charges and $10,000 for possession of a firearm. Bell is currently being held in the Lauderdale County Adult Detention Facility in Meridian awaiting further processing.

    Sollie said investigators are certain the two victims are Algene Grant, a convicted sex offender from Iowa, and Aketi Sims Washington.

    Sollie said the two skeletons were found in a shallow grave in a wooded area behind the mobile home where Grant lived. Autopsies performed in Jackson Friday did not reveal the cause of the deaths, Sollie said.

    Sollie said Bell and Grant knew each other; that Bell's home sits in front of the mobile home Grant was renting from Bell. Investigators were searching for Grant for failing to register as a convicted sex offender when they discovered the skeletal remains. According to the Sex Offender Registry, Grant was convicted on June 29, 1966 for rape in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Sollie said Grant hadn't registered with his office, as per state law, since June of this year.

    Sollie said Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab technicians worked until 10 p.m. Thursday to excavate the grave and collect all the physical evidence. The remains were then transported to Jackson to the Mississippi State Examiner's Office.

    Sollie said DNA samples from Washington's family and dental records of Grant would confirm the identities of the victims.