Monday, July 14, 2014
Area farmer arrested after brandishing severed hand
Whereabouts of rest of body, alive or dead, unknown
Local cotton farmer John Reagle was arrested Sunday night at Duffy's Bar and Grill after displaying what he claimed was a human hand to other patrons. Reagle, 43, is a longtime resident of the Oxford area and was described as a regular at Duffy's.
The Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department verified Monday morning that they had taken Reagle into custody, but declined to provide details on the charges.
Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones said by telephone that the alleged hand had been taken into evidence for further analysis.
Jones would not say whether the hand had been confirmed as human, or if it is human, whether investigators believe the person it belongs to is still alive or may have been the victim of foul play.
Duffy's bartender, Patrick Mulvaney, said he contacted authorities after observing Reagle showing the hand to several customers.
"He had it in one of those plastic containers like you keep leftovers in," said Mulvaney. "He kept showing that thing to people, and at first, I thought it was just a joke. But some people were getting upset, and when I got a look at it myself, I knew something just wasn't right."
Several Duffy's employees said Reagle had told them that the hand belonged to his former girlfriend, who reportedly has not been seen in Oxford since June.
The same employees added that the hand did not appear to them to be a woman's hand, but said they did not get a close enough look to be sure because Reagle never took the hand out of the plastic container or opened the container to let them get a closer look.
Witnesses who had seen the hand described it as "dirty" and "a weird color." One Duffy's customer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Reagle had opened a corner of the container for him and "the smell was so bad, I almost puked right there on the spot."
Reagle's first court appearance is scheduled for later today.
By Kemper Jones at 10:30 AM