OXFORD WEEKLY PLANET
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Police activity near Sardis Lake
What are investigators looking for on Clear Springs Nature Trail?
Concerned citizens reported an increased police presence near Sardis Lake, where a two-mile stretch of River Road has been cordoned off between State Highway 315 and King Road.
Law enforcement officers from Quitman, Tate, and Yoknapatawpha counties are on the scene. Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones did not respond to requests for information by publication time.
Apparent search in progress
An Oxford Weekly Planet news service drone flying over the secured area indicated that authorities are engaged in what looks like a search of the Clear Springs Nature Trail, which is a 0.6-mile wooden boardwalk-raised trail over a cypress bottomland swamp southwest of Sardis Lake.
The apparent search includes both law enforcement personnel and canine units. Shortly after Crime Beat initiated drone surveillance of the area, the police instituted a no-fly zone over the nature trail and officially requested the media refrain from taking additional footage.
Local traffic diverted
Batesville resident Franklin Swift, 39, who works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Vicksburg District, was turned away on his morning commute.
“We have a project that I'm overseeing at Lespedeza Point on Lake Sardis,” said Swift, “and I was stopped at the intersection of King and River Roads. I knew the cop at the barricade there and asked him what was going on, and he said something about a search for a dead kid.”
Nearby residents add to speculation
Devon Southwood, 52, who lives at nearby Floyd’s Island, was able to pass through police barricades to get to his residence but was unable to find out any information about the apparent search.
“The place the cops are looking in is real swampy,” Southwood said, “The water is only like a foot or two deep in most places, but filled with some critters you don’t want to mess with. I’ve personally seen gators out back of my shed on Floyd’s Island."
"Clear Springs is only a mile and a half down the road," Southwood noted. "Maybe some Northerner came down with his kids, and one got himself eaten.”
Law enforcement remains mum for now
Tate County Officer Aaron Gulledge refused to comment on any activity in the area but told Crime Beat that he expected information would be available in a matter of hours or days, not weeks.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
By Kemper Jones at 11:00 AM