Mississippi is known for its charming small towns and friendly residents, but that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from criminal activity. Just like any other state, Mississippi has experienced its fair share of crime. Even though any occurrence of a crime is hard to swallow, it’s even more disheartening when it remains unsolved for years on end. And unfortunately, there are numerous crimes that remain unsolved in Mississippi; here are 8 of the most baffling.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. The Disappearance of Erin M. Davis
In the summer of 2002, Erin M. Davis went missing; she was 7 months pregnant at the time. The 24-year-old mother-to-be was last seen on June 22nd, when her sister-in-law dropped her off at home. The next day, the sister-in-law returned to Erin’s residence; however, instead of finding Erin, she only found Erin’s two young children, ages 2 and 4, home alone. No one has seen or heard from Erin since. Information on her whereabouts or her fate remains a mystery to this day.
2. The Disappearance of Angela Freeman
In 1993, the small town of Petal was shocked when 17-year-old Angela Freeman went missing. The teenager was last seen around 1:00 a.m. on September 10, 1993, talking to her boyfriend in the parking lot of the local Pizza Hut. Less than six hours later, her car was discovered at the Old Mahned Bridge in Perry County.
The crime scene was just as perplexing as the teen’s disappearance. Angela’s keys and purse were missing and her shoes were found outside of the car. Additionally, the windows were rolled down and there were drops of blood on the interior of the car as well as on the ground nearby. Later DNA testing proved the blood was, in fact, Angela’s. The teen’s parents suspected their daughter was killed by a man who had been hunting near Old Mahned Bridge that day; however, no arrests have ever been made.
3. The Murder of Janie Sharp
Though Janie Sharp’s murder happened over a century ago, it continues to baffle people to this day. On July 21, 1910, the 18-year-old was headed home from the post office. While passing through a small patch of woods, she was attacked and killed by an unknown assailant. Janie’s body was later discovered by her brother, Lee Sharp. It’s said that Lee was so shocked by the crime scene that he fainted when he came upon it. No one was ever convicted of Janie Sharp’s murder; however, a man named Swinton Parmenter was tried for the crime. Though he was acquitted, many believed he was responsible for the murder.
4. The Murder of Shondra May
In February of 1986, the disappearance of Shondra May shook the small community of Pea Ridge. When 17-year-old Shondra hadn’t returned home, her mother, Genell, began to worry. Not long after, Genell opened the front door of her home and was faced with a disheartening sight — her daughter’s abandoned vehicle was parked on the road less than 100 yards from the house. Several weeks later, Shondra’s remains were discovered in Black Creek. Police determined that the teen had been bound, gagged, sexually assaulted, and strangled. After all these years, the identity of Shondra’s vicious killer remains a mystery.
5. The Death of Norman Ladner
The year was 1989, and high school student Norman Ladner decided to do some hunting on family-owned land near the small town of Picayune. At 7:00 p.m. when the young boy still hadn’t returned home, his father began to worry. After searching the property, Norman Sr. found his son face down on the ground with a single gunshot wound to the head.
6. The Abduction of Leigh Occhi
The disappearance of Leigh Occhi has got to be one of the most baffling missing persons cases in Mississippi. On August 27, 1992, the 13-year-old girl was left home alone for the first time; unfortunately, it was also her last, as she was never seen again. After calling to check in on the teen and getting no answer, Leigh’s mother became worried and headed home to check on her. When she arrived at the house she couldn’t find Leigh anywhere.
Though there were no signs of forced entry, it was clear that a struggle had taken place. Blood stains were found in Leigh’s room as well as on a few pieces of her clothing. Upon further investigation, it was discovered that several of the teen’s personal items were missing, including her glasses, shoes, clothes, and sleeping bag. Police were left with even more questions, when, a month after Leigh’s disappearance, her glasses were mailed to her stepfather. Despite interviewing several persons of interest, an arrest has never been made in connection with Leigh’s case.
7. The Murder of Wesly Cullen Cuevas
Up until a fateful night in February of 1997, things seemed to be going good for Pass Christian resident Wesly Cuevas. The 19-year-old was working for a family masonry business while attending college. Sadly, his life was cut short when he was shot and killed while in the small town of DeLisle. A security guard eventually discovered Wesly’s body slumped over the steering wheel of his 1992 Chevrolet Cavalier, with the engine still running. In 2015, the Harrison County Sheriff's Office reopened the case in an effort to finally get justice for Wesly.
8. The Disappearance of Jacqueline Levitz
In 1995, Jacqueline Levitz, the heiress to the Levitz Furniture fortune, disappeared from her residence. After her husband’s death several years before, the socialite purchased a home in Vicksburg with the intention of renovating it. On November 18th, she visited a local hardware store – this was the last time she was seen alive. Her disappearance was discovered two days later when a relative stopped by to see why Jacqueline hadn’t been answering the phone. Though there was no sign of Levitz in the home, it was clear a crime had taken place. Aside from artificial fingernails being scattered about, the mattress was soaked in blood.
Initially, investigators suspected kidnapping, but this theory was quickly put to rest since the family never received any requests for ransom. Robbery was ruled out since nothing of value was taken from the home. Perhaps the most puzzling part of this crime is the fact that the heiress’ body was taken from the scene. Police suspect that Jacqueline’s body could’ve been disposed of in the Mississippi River, which was close to her home. Jacqueline Levitz was declared dead in 2000, with her murderer still at large.
Ever heard about any of the unsolved mysteries listed above? Know of one that should’ve been included? Tell us in the comments section.