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INCIDENT / ARREST REPORT
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department
711 Jackson Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655
___ Senior Citizen
___ Child Abuse
___ Involved Alcohol
REPORTING OFFICER'S NARRATIVE(Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the offense and the arrest.)
At 10:32 a.m., Dispatch received a 911 call reporting the discovery of a body in the woods east of Oxford Memorial Cemetery. The caller identified herself as Holly Puskus, the cheerleading coach at Yoknapatawpha High School.
Unit #209 (Officer P. Winston) was dispatched to the scene and arrived at 10:36 a.m. At 10:38 a.m., Officer Winston notified Dispatch that the presence of a body was confirmed and requested backup and medical assistance. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy were assigned and proceeded directly to the scene. Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson and a CSU team were notified to respond to the scene.
Reporting Officer (R/O) Watson arrived at the scene at 11:24 a.m., and R/O Quinlan arrived at 11:25 a.m.
Reporting Investigators (R/Is) arrived at the scene at 10:50 a.m. and found Officer Winston and Quinlan had secured the area and detained two adult females, identified as Holly Puskus (Person 2) and Jennifer Adams (Person 3). Environmental conditions at the outdoor scene upon arrival are as follows: Weather: Fair; Ambient Temperature: 83º F / 28º C; Relative Humidity: 69%.
Upon R/Is' arrival, Officer Winston made the following verbal report, which is stated in summary and not verbatim.
Officer Winston said Holly Puskus and Jennifer Adams met him in the parking lot behind Bramlett Elementary School which abuts the south side of the wooded area adjacent to Oxford Memorial Cemetery. Ms. Puskus said her student, Ms. Adams, had found the body of another student in the woods. Ms. Puskus then escorted Officer Winston into the wooded area to the location of an apparently deceased adult female, later identified as Katherine Brown (Person 1).
Upon verification of the presence of the body, Officer Winston asked Ms. Puskus to return to the parking lot and remain there, advising her that additional officers would arrive shortly and give her and Ms. Adams further instructions. Officer Winston then secured the area, finding no other persons in the vicinity.
At 10:45 a.m., YCFD EMTs R. Peterson and J. Bilkey arrived and, after confirming the victim was deceased, withdrew from the crime scene.
Officer Winston reported that, to the best of his knowledge, the following persons have entered the crime scene area and must be documented by CSU personnel: Holly Puskus, Jennifer Adams, EMT Peterson, EMT Bilkey, and himself.
After receiving Officer Winston's verbal report, R/Is conducted a preliminary inspection of the scene, noting disturbed earth and ground cover vegetation consistent with a struggle in the area surrounding the body.
Adjacent to the well-worn dirt path through the woods, R/Is observed a lifeless human body, a female apparently in her late teens. Visual inspection indicated the victim was wearing a gray tank top and black shorts.
The body lay in a supine position with the head pointing west. The legs were together, and the arms were bent at the elbow, hands on the ground at neck level, palms up. A gym bag was still strapped over her right shoulder, and a cell phone was on the ground approximately eight inches west of the body. R/Is noted visible injuries to the victim's neck and hands but delayed further inspection of the body until the Coroner's Inspector was on the scene.
At 11:03 a.m., Coroner's Inspector Johnson arrived at the scene and joined R/Is at the body's location.
Inspector Johnson pronounced the victim deceased at 11:06 a.m. by visual observation that the victim was not breathing and by tactile observation that the victim did not have a palpable carotid pulse. Inspector Johnson noted the bruising in the neck area and suggested that those wounds could be indicative of the cause of death.
While she withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy, Inspector Johnson speculated the victim had been dead no longer than 3 hours. Inspector Johnson indicated that further details would be available in the official autopsy report.
After Inspector Johnson completed her initial inspection of the body, she stayed with the CSU team to ensure the integrity of the body while the team took photographs of the scene and performed preliminary analyses until the body could be removed from the scene without affecting other evidence.
CSU arrived at the scene at 11:37 a.m. R/Is instructed CSU to collect the phone and process the scene according to standard procedure.
A preliminary search of the immediate area for the weapon(s) causing the injury to the victim met with negative results. CSU will conduct a more intensive search and report their findings.
R/Is left the scene at 12:42 p.m. to interview the witnesses at headquarters. Before leaving, R/I Murphy instructed CSU to seal the scene upon completion or end-of-day suspension of processing. CSU to notify R/Is of progress by the end of this date. As of this filing, CSU is still actively processing at the scene.
The body of the deceased was removed from the scene at 11:55 a.m. and remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson for transport to the coroner's office for autopsy. A preliminary autopsy report is expected within seven days of this report, with detailed findings to follow at a later date.
Evidence was remanded into the custody of Forensics Officer T. R. Douglas for transport to the state crime lab for routine analysis. CSU is expected to submit an inventory of items taken into evidence within seven days of this report, with detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.
|REPORTING OFFICER||Sam Murphy||DATE REPORTED||07/15/2023|
|REPORTING OFFICER|| //Sam Murphy
|ASSISTING OFFICER|| //Ted Armstrong