OXFORD WEEKLY PLANET
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
UM instructor's death ruled a homicide
Family offers $75,000 reward
The death of popular University of Mississippi instructor Kristi Waterson is now being investigated as a homicide, the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department announced this afternoon.
"Evidence discovered during the autopsy clearly shows Ms. Waterson's death was not by her own hand," said YCSD Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones.
Jones would not elaborate on what led the Coroner's Office to the homicide finding, saying only that the full report would be released in the coming weeks.
Waterson's roommate found her body in their Hathorn Road apartment Sunday morning. Jones declined to comment on what leads investigators are pursuing.
"We have no suspects at this time," Jones said, "but our investigation is just beginning. If you have any information, we urge you to contact the sheriff's department or Crime Stoppers of Yoknapatawpha County."
Through a spokesman, the Waterson family released a statement.
"We are heartbroken over the tragic loss of our daughter and hope that the individual or individuals responsible for this crime will do the right thing and come forward.
"To aid the authorities in their search, the family is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of Kristi's murderer."
Grief on campus
Waterson obtained her undergraduate degree in Political Science and her Master of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi and taught in the School of Business Administration.
Colleagues were moved by the loss of one of their own.
"She will be sorely missed by so many, I'm sure," said John Brewer, Head of the UM School of Business Administration. "Ms. Waterson's unique teaching methods and reaching out to students will not be forgotten."
"She was one of a kind," said Emily Peyton, also an instructor in the Business School. "To have so much and to have it taken away so suddenly… there is a lesson in that for us all."
Ole Miss students, too, were shocked.
"It's a terrible day for the school and for the entire student body," said Hunter Nelson, President of Delta Tau Chi fraternity.
"It's definitely a tragedy," said Deborah Eaton. "Someone who has everything like she did, and now for her to be gone. There's nothing for us all to do but move on, I guess."
"She was a great teacher; I really liked her," said Rob LaRouche. "Violence like this is horrible. It's not what school should be about."
Funeral arrangements for Kristi Waterson have not been announced.