Meridian Star

Local News

October 12, 2013

Man charged in connection with skeletal remains

MERIDIAN —     A man Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department authorities were holding as a person of interest in connection with the discovery Thursday of two skeletons in a shallow grave on Espey Road has now been charged.

    Sheriff Billy 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 made the gruesome discovery. 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. Sollie said the investigation is ongoing.

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