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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 8:27 a.m., Dispatch received a 911 call regarding the discovery of a body in an atrium at the Oxford Centre office complex. The caller identified herself as Rita Ashbury, an employee at Blaze Art and Media in Building Two of Oxford Centre.
Unit #202 (Officer A. L. Quinlan) was immediately dispatched to the scene. Detectives Armstrong and Murphy were assigned and proceeded directly to the scene. Reporting Officer (R/O) Quinlan arrived at the scene at 8:31 a.m. At R/O's request, Unit #221 (Officer Maria Richards) was dispatched to the scene to provide backup and assistance and arrived at 8:38 a.m.
Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson was notified, at R/I's request, to respond to the scene.
Reporting Investigators (R/Is) arrived at the scene at 8:42 a.m. and found R/Os Quinlan and Richards had secured the area. Environmental conditions at scene upon arrival are as follows: Weather: Fair; Ambient Temperature: 45°F / 7°C; Relative Humidity: 58%.
R/O Quinlan made the following verbal report, which is stated in summary and not verbatim.
R/O Quinlan said that, upon arrival, he was met on the North Lamar side of the Oxford Centre office complex by an adult female, identified as Rita Ashbury.
The witness directed R/O Quinlan to the location of the body in the atrium between Buildings Two and Three of Oxford Centre.
After confirming the presence of the body, R/O Quinlan secured the scene, called for backup, and detained the witness.
R/O Quinlan further stated that, to the best of his knowledge, the following personnel have had occasion to enter the crime scene area and must be documented by CSU personnel: witness Rita Ashbury, R/O Richards, and himself.
After receiving the report from R/O Quinlan, R/I Murphy contacted Dispatch regarding the status of the Coroner's Inspector and the Crime Scene Unit. Dispatch indicated the Inspector's ETA was approximately 15 minutes and CSU's ETA was approximately 20 minutes.
R/Is conducted a preliminary inspection of the scene, noting a gray garment that appeared to be a coat draped over the railing of the uppermost skywalk connecting the two buildings on either side of the atrium. The uppermost skywalk was located approximately 70 feet from the street and 25 feet above the ground. A lifeless human body was visible in the atrium
The body, a female in her late twenties or early thirties, was on the concrete floor of the atrium, approximately 65 feet from the street, 15 feet from the southern building, and 10 feet from the northern building.
The body was lying in a prone position, head to the west and feet to the east. Approximately 36 inches to the west of the body lay a woman's dark blue handbag.
Visual inspection indicated the victim was wearing a blue and gray striped long-sleeved shirt, blue denim jeans, and black ankle-high boots.
The victim's right arm was extended at an approximate 45º angle to the body and bent at the elbow at an approximate 45º angle. The left arm was extended at an approximate 30º angle to the body and bent at the elbow at an approximate 45º angle. The left knee was bent at an approximate 30º angle to the body, and the right leg was straight.
In the area of the victim's head, R/Is observed a pool of what appeared to be blood measuring approximately 24 inches by 24 inches. Visual inspection of the hands revealed multiple broken fingernails and possible abrasions and contusions.
Coroner's Inspector Johnson arrived at the scene at approximately 9:05 a.m. and joined R/Is at the body's location. Inspector Johnson pronounced the victim deceased at 9:11 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 that rigor mortis appeared to be moderately established throughout the body and that the skin was cool to the touch. Inspector Johnson speculated the victim had been dead approximately eight to twelve hours, but she withheld an official estimate pending an autopsy, noting that weather conditions and other factors made a determination at the scene difficult.
Inspector Johnson said the cause of death appeared to have been blunt force trauma injuries resulting from an uncontrolled fall but 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 destroying other evidence.
Following the preliminary inspection of the scene, R/Is interviewed the 911 caller, Rita Ashbury, in her office in the Oxford Centre complex.
R/Is left the scene at 1:20 p.m. 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 remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson. The deceased was removed from the scene at 11:47 a.m. and transported to the coroner's office for autopsy. A preliminary autopsy report is expected within fourteen days of this report.
Evidence 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 fourteen days of this report, with a detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.
|REPORTING OFFICER||Sam Murphy||DATE REPORTED||02/28/2022|
|REPORTING OFFICER|| //Sam Murphy
|ASSISTING OFFICER|| //Ted Armstrong