REPORTING OFFICER'S NARRATIVE (Brief narrative of the facts surrounding the offense and the arrest.)
At 6:12 a.m., Dispatch received a 911 call reporting the discovery of a dead body off Highway 7, south of Regional Center Drive. The caller identified himself as Mark Eldridge (Person 2). Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Unit 209 (Officer P. Winston) was dispatched and arrived at the scene at 6:27 a.m. After confirming the presence of the body, R/O secured the scene and contacted Dispatch and requested backup and medical assistance.
Reporting Investigators (R/Is) Detectives T. Armstrong and S. Murphy were assigned and proceeded directly to the scene. At R/Is' request, Coroner’s Inspector L. Johnson and a CSU team were notified to respond to the scene.
R/Is arrived at the scene at 6:49 a.m. Upon arrival, R/Is found that R/O had secured the area. Environmental conditions at the scene upon arrival are as follows: Weather: Clear; Exterior Ambient Temperature: 45°F / 7°C, Relative Humidity: 37%.
R/O Winston made the following verbal report, which is stated in summary and not verbatim.
R/O was met along the side of Highway 7 by Eldridge, who was waiting at his pickup truck. Eldridge led R/O into the woods to the body of an apparently deceased adult female, later identified as Jasmine Ledbetter (Person 1).
At R/O's request, Eldridge returned to his pickup to lead backup and medical personnel to the site.
R/O said YCFD EMTs R. Peterson and J. Bilkey arrived at approximately 6:20 a.m. and, after confirming the victim was deceased, withdrew from the crime scene. R/O Winston further stated that, to the best of his knowledge, the following personnel had occasion to enter the crime scene area and must be documented by CSU personnel: witness Mark Eldridge, EMT Peterson, EMT Bilkey and himself.
After receiving the report from R/O Winston, R/Is conducted a preliminary inspection of the scene.
R/Is observed some broken branches and some leaves that appeared to have been recently disturbed on the eastern periphery of a small clearing. In the center of the clearing, R/Is observed a lifeless human body, a female apparently in her early 20s. Visual inspection indicated the victim was wearing a white shirt with dark stains in the abdomen area and a dark blue skirt. The body was wrapped what appeared to be a clear plastic tarp. The body lay in a supine position with the head pointing north. The legs were together and the arms were at the side of the torso, the right arm holding a purse. R/Is delayed further inspection of the body until the arrival of the Coroner's Inspector.
R/Is observed a cell phone on the ground, 4 feet west of the victim, and small possible bloodstains on the ground in multiple locations surrounding the body.
Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson arrived at the scene at approximately 7:10 a.m. and joined R/Is at the body's location. Inspector Johnson pronounced the victim deceased at 7:29 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 visually examined the anterior of the body and observed apparent stab wounds to the abdomen and speculated that the apparent cause of death is related to those wounds. Inspector Johnson noted that rigor mortis was moderately established and, pending a more detailed examination at autopsy, speculated the victim had been dead approximately 6 to 18 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 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 approximately 7:15 a.m. R/Is instructed CSU to take the phone as well as samples of possible blood found near the body into evidence for analysis and to process the entire 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 12:35 p.m. to interview witness Mark Eldridge, who had been transported to the YCSD. 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.
Body of the deceased remanded into the custody of Coroner's Inspector Luwinda Johnson. Deceased was removed from scene at 9:42 a.m. and transported to the coroner's office for autopsy.
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 detailed report(s) of their findings to follow at a later date.