Meridian Star

September 7, 2013

Local authorities still waiting on autopsy results

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

MERIDIAN —     The inside of the storage building is dank and dirty.

    Trash in varying degrees of rot, old wooden pallets, and a dirt covered floor are normal sights for old abandoned buildings. The thing that sets this one apart from the others in Meridian is the still noticeable stench of death.

    Here, in this lonely desolate location a life ended. Local law enforcement authorities and the county coroner are waiting on autopsy results. Hopefully the results will tell authorities here if this person, just recently identified as a man, was white or black, young or old. If he was a victim of a crime, or was it a willing, lost choice of suicide that resulted in his death. Or was it from natural causes and the handgun found next to his head was just one of his meager belongings.

    Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler said Friday he has not received a preliminary report or any other information on the man adding he thought the full autopsy may have been postponed until next week.

    "I'm not sure of the workload they have in Jackson," Cobler said. "They may be backed up but for whatever reason I don't expect a report until sometime next week."

    Workers at a shop next to the abandoned storage building notified authorities Wednesday morning they could smell a strong stench in the area. The work shop is right behind the dog pound but the workers said this was a different smell than from a dead animal or from a lot of animals being kept nearby. When officers arrived they opened the door to the building and found the body.

    Cobler said at the time of the discovery he guessed the man had been dead for more than a week. Cobler said the level of decomposition to the body was progressive making it difficult to tell the persons gender, race, age, and the cause of death.

    Detectives with the Meridian Police Department were called in to process the scene as paramedics with Metro Ambulance removed the body. To ensure every available piece of potential evidence was collected, MPD detectives approach a dead body discovery much like a homicide scene. Now they wait for the medical examiner to notify them if they in fact have a murder, a suicide or a natural cause death.

    No matter which one it is, the inside of the storage building, with its stale air filled with surroundings marked in decay, must have seemed a bleak location in which to leave this life.