| REPORTING OFFICER'S NARRATIVE(Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the offense and the arrest.)
On the discovery that the parking area of Clear Springs Nature Trail was the final location recorded by a GPS device (ref. Evidence # 001077-V51) found in missing Alesville man Daniel Collier's vehicle, Detective Jo Allyn Magee and Detective Paul Beckwith (R/Is) arranged a search of the area on 3/16/2021.
R/Is arrived at Clear Springs Nature Trail parking area at 6150 River Road at 7:30 a.m. on 3/16/2021. Yoknapatawpha County Police Officers Fred Willits (Unit #304) and P.J. Watson (Unit #305) cleared the immediate area and the trail was closed to the public. Environmental conditions upon R/Is' arrival were as follows: Weather: Mostly cloudy; Exterior Ambient Temperature: 63° F / 17° C; Relative Humidity: 90%.
Given the challenges of the swampy terrain, R/Is divided the nature trail into quadrants for line searching. Law enforcement personnel from Yoknapatawpha, Tate, and Quitman counties aided in the search.
The northern quadrant, comprised of a wooded area north of River Road, was searched first between 8:00 a.m. and 11:20 a.m. Nothing of note was found. The heavily-forested western quadrant was searched between 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Likewise it was absent of evidence.
The search of the eastern quadrant, comprised of wooden boardwalks over swampland, began at 3:35 p.m. At 4:02 p.m., Quitman County Police Officer Samuel Frishman located what appeared to be a long rolled bundle wrapped in a green tarp in 3 ½ feet of water fifteen yards south of a trail boardwalk (global positioning coordinates of location was 34°24'22.2"N, 89°50'06.1"W). R/Is suspended any subsequent searches of the south quadrant.
R/Is contacted Dispatch at 4:05 p.m. and requested CSU and a coroner's inspector at their location. CSU arrived on the scene at approximately 4:57 p.m. The tarp was removed from the water by winch at 6:04 p.m. and placed on the boardwalk with some difficulty due to a vehicle's cylinder head ratchet-strapped near the mid-point of the tarp-wrapped bundle. The tarp had been rolled on its short edge and bound at both ends by a second pair of ratchet straps.
Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson arrived at approximately 5:55 p.m. Before CSU opened the tarp, it was photographed on scene with the cylinder head and straps still secured. At 6:30 p.m., CSU removed the straps and cylinder head and opened the tarp. Inside, R/Is found severely decomposed human remains. The body still wore tattered clothing that included a black t-shirt, blue jeans and black Skechers shoes. CSU photographed the body at this point, just prior to Inspector Johnson's closer examination of the remains.
Inspector Johnson pronounced the body dead at 6:32 p.m. by visual observation of the body's state of decomposition. Inspector Johnson speculated that the deceased had been in the water several months, but withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy. Inspector Johnson could not ascertain a cause of death due to decomposition and water disarticulation of the body's limbs, however the skull did exhibit injuries indicative of blunt force trauma. Whether that trauma was sustained postmortem will be determined at autopsy.
During the examination of the body, Inspector Johnson remarked that portions of the tarp and body show signs of predation. The largest holes in the tarp consisted of an 8 by 3 inch tear on the left side near the body's head and a 6 by 4 inch tear on the left side of the body's torso. Inspector Johnson noted that three fingers of the left hand (the index, middle, and ring) were missing, likely scavenged after disarticulation through the tarp tears. CSU conducted a search for the fingers which was unsuccessful.
The body lacked any form of identification, wallet, or jewelry of any kind.
After Inspector Johnson had completed her examination of the body, she stayed with the CSU team to ensure the integrity of the body, while the team took further photographs and collected additional evidence. The deceased and tarp were remanded into the custody of the Coroner's Office and both were placed in a black body bag for transport from the scene at approximately 7:21 p.m. The body was taken to the Coroner's Office for autopsy with a preliminary report of the findings expected within ten days of this report.
R/Is left the scene at 7:49 p.m. Before leaving, R/I Magee instructed CSU to seal the scene and delay additional scene processing until the next day because of the growing darkness. R/I Beckwith instructed Officer Willits to arrange for the trail's closure until such time that CSU is able to complete their work.
Evidence is remanded into the custody of Forensics Officer T. R. Douglas for transport to the state crime lab for more detailed analysis. CSU is expected to submit an inventory of items taken into evidence within seven days of this report.