Meridian Star

October 11, 2013

Skeletal remains found on Espy Road

By Brian Livingston / blivingston@themeridianstar.com
From staff reports

MERIDIAN —     While serving a search warrant Thursday morning to try and locate a convicted sex offender, deputies with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department came across a gruesome scene that included what appeared to be a human bone sticking out of a shallow grave.

    LCSD Sheriff Billy Sollie said late Thursday there were two sets of skeletal remains lying end to end in one shallow grave found behind a home located at 7643-A Espey Road. He said one set was that of a man and the other was of a woman. Sollie said clothes nearby seemed to back up the genders of the victims but identification would be much harder to determine.

    "We believe the woman may be Aketi Sims Washington, a woman who was reported missing by her family a couple of days ago and who hasn't been seen since May," Sollie said. "The family also gave us information that Washington may be here."

    Sollie said DNA samples from family members would be used to try and match the female remains.

    Sollie said a person of interest is being detained at the Lauderdale County Adult Detention Facility in Meridian but that he couldn't give out any information of the subject because he had not been charged with a crime.

    Sollie said when deputies searched the double wide mobile home around 10 a.m. to try and locate the convicted sex offender, identified as Algene Grant, they discovered instead what appeared to be a violent crime scene. Technicians from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation's Crime Lab Division were called in to process the scene. At the same time, deputies and investigators had begun an outside search of the property. Just down a path in a wooded area behind the home the shallow grave was found.

    "The grave was partially covered by old tires and bricks," Sollie said. "There were a couple of what appeared to be human bones near the site."

    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 he didn't believe there were any more bodies at the location. He said that crime lab technicians and support staff would stay on into Thursday night and begin again Friday morning if the excavation had not been completed.

    "They are trying to be very careful in their retrieval of the remains," Sollie said.

    Members of the Bailey Volunteer Fire Department and the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency joined deputies and investigators with the LCSD and technicians with the Mississippi State Crime Lab of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation in processing the scene.