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Couple Found in Kansas were killed in Hattiesburg MS
WDAM ^ | March 31, 2004

Posted on 03/31/2004 8:16:01 PM PST by WKB

A gruesome discovery in Kansas has led police to the site of a double homicide in Hattiesburg.

Police say the bodies of a white male and white female in their mid to late 30s were found during a drug raid in Russell, Kansas. Evidence at the scene led police to believe the two were residents of Hattiesburg.

Wednesday investigators combed through the victims' house, where they believe the murders occurred.

They have asked the media to not release the location, pending official identification of the bodies, and notification of the victims' families.

"It is our belief that this crime did occur in our city," says Hattiesburg Police Chief David Wynn. " We have located the area that the murders took place, and there's evidence that the crime did take place at that location."

Two detectives from Hattiesburg will travel to Kansas to investigate the case. An autopsy is being performed in Topeka, and should be complete by Friday.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Mississippi

1 posted on 03/31/2004 8:16:02 PM PST by WKB
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To: Keltik; John Vaught; Sybeck1; fatrat; RKB-AFG; southern bale; dixiechick2000; jessies; onyx; ...
PI ping
2 posted on 03/31/2004 8:16:43 PM PST by WKB (3!~ Term Limits: Because politicians are like diapers., need to be changed for the same reason.)
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Hattiesburg Man's Body Found In Kansas Freezer

Police in Kansas are investigating a strange double murder they believe originally occurred in Mississippi.

During a drug bust earlier this week in Russell County Kansas, sheriff's deputies found the bodies of a man and a women. The two were discovered inside a freezer on a rural farm.

Investigators now believe the pair were actually killed at their home in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The man was from Mississippi, and the woman was originally from Kansas.

Kansas TV station KAKE reported on Wednesday that police in Mississippi say a man from Kansas confessed to killing the two, and that the deaths are drug related.

Neither the Russell County Sheriff's Department nor the Kansas Attorney General's Office is commenting on the case. But people who live in the area are talking.

A farmer who lives next door told KAKE News he noticed some suspicious activity. He says last Thursday, he noticed a pickup truck he'd never seen before with out-of-state tags back into the garage on the farm.

KAKE News also talked to a man who actually rents the land on the farm. He says the house has been abandoned for a couple of years.
3 posted on 03/31/2004 8:18:29 PM PST by WKB (3!~ Term Limits: Because politicians are like diapers., need to be changed for the same reason.)
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Man, what IS it about MS? Sure has been in the negative news a lot lately.

Nothing like that ever happens in TX. </sarcasm>
4 posted on 03/31/2004 8:23:03 PM PST by El Gran Salseron (It translates as the Great, Big Salsa Dancer, nothing more. :-))
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To: El Gran Salseron
It's a Southern thang
5 posted on 03/31/2004 8:24:36 PM PST by WKB (3!~ Term Limits: Because politicians are like diapers., need to be changed for the same reason.)
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Russel, Kansas??? Could hardly be more in the middle of nowhere. Was just through there last week on the way home from skiing in Colorado. The boyhood town of Bob Dole and Arlen Specter.

Drugs and murder?? Can happen anywhere.
6 posted on 03/31/2004 9:13:16 PM PST by KsSunflower
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WHOA! H'burg is my hometown! I'm gonna have to e-mail my cousins to find out what's up with this!
7 posted on 03/31/2004 9:45:40 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: Keltik; John Vaught; Sybeck1; fatrat; RKB-AFG; southern bale; dixiechick2000; jessies; onyx; ...
Bodies are Mississippi couple
Mississippi police say couple killed there, brought to Kansas
Salina Journal

WALDO — A couple whose bodies were discovered late Monday in a farm outbuilding south of Waldo in Russell County were murdered in their home at Hattiesburg, Miss., put in a chest freezer and driven to Kansas in the back of a pickup truck, sources said Wednesday.

Kansas authorities have not released the names of the victims, saying autopsies have not been completed.

However, Esther Ard, Ashville, Ohio, identified the dead as her brother, Vernon Hulett, 34, and his girlfriend, Linda, whose last name and age were not known. They lived together in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Ard said Hattiesburg police went to her mother’s home in Hattiesburg late Wednesday afternoon and told her they believed the man found dead in Russell was her son.

“She was told they definitely were killed in his house, and that they were transported in a freezer in the back of a truck all the way to Kansas,” Ard said.

Sgt. David Morgan, public information officer with the Hattiesburg Police Department, said a Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent called his department Tuesday to tell them that the bodies had been found in a freezer, and two people had been taken into custody in Russell County. Morgan said the KBI agent gave Hattiesburg police the address of a home at which they thought the couple had been murdered.

“We verified that there is a scene there, and we are processing that scene,” Morgan said.

Morgan wouldn’t discuss how the two might have been killed nor any evidence found at the house, but he said police thought the crime was drug-related. He said Hattiesburg police probably would be coming to Kansas once autopsies are completed and the identities of the couple are verified.

The Russell County Sheriff’s Office referred all calls about the investigation to the Kansas Attorney General’s Office.

Whitney Watson, spokesman for Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline, said late Wednesday that no new information would be released until this morning. He refused to confirm the names of the victims or the connection to Hattiesburg.

The deaths were made public Tuesday in a news release from the Russell County Sheriff’s Office. The release said officers from the sheriff’s office and the KBI found the bodies when they went to the rural home late Monday to serve a warrant for narcotic violations.

A meth operation

Hattiesburg, a city of 45,000 about an hour north of the Gulf of Mexico, is a little more than 1,000 miles from Waldo. Hattiesburg is within an hour and a half of several major cities, including New Orleans, Mobile, Ala., and Jackson, Miss.

The farm on which the bodies were found is southwest of the intersection of 190th Street and Amherst Road, about four miles south and two east of Waldo in northern Russell County. A truck with Mississippi plates reportedly was towed from the farmstead late Tuesday.

Ard said she was told that her brother and his girlfriend were killed because they had threatened to tell police about a methamphetamine manufacturing operation at the farmstead.

The Russell connection

Ard said her mother told her that Hulett’s killer was Ard’s cousin, but Ard was not sure of his name. She said the cousin and his girlfriend, who live in Russell County, had gone to visit Hulett and his mother, and their vehicle had broken down while in Hattiesburg. Ard said they left her brother’s house sometime last week. She initially thought her brother had driven the couple back to Kansas.

Ard and her brother grew up in Russell County and still have numerous relatives in the area. Ard left in 1984, when she was a junior in high school. Ard’s daughter, Nicole, was born while Ard lived in Russell.

“I was young when she was born, and my brother helped take care of her when she was little,” Ard said. “He doesn’t have any children of his own. Everything he has, he has put in her name; she’s the beneficiary for his home and all of that.

“He was real proud of that. He wanted to help give her something.”

Ard said her brother had difficulties in his teens and early 20s, while he still lived in Russell. Hulett, who is three years younger than Ard, moved three or four years ago to Mississippi to be near his mother. Ard last saw him in May 2002, when he attended Nicole’s high school graduation.

“He didn’t make it here for Christmas,” Ard said.

A better life

She said Hulett recently got a job as a trash hauler for the city of Hattiesburg.

“He was working, he was buying a house,” Ard said. “He was trying to not continue to be in the trouble he was in when he was younger.”

Ard said Hulett had been arrested for burglary and theft.

The Kansas Criminal Justice Information System shows a Vernon Hulett, with a birth date of Nov. 18, 1969, as having served time in prison in 1989 for felony property damage and burglary.

Ard said her brother never was into drugs.

“When he was a kid, I’m sure he had trouble with alcohol,” she said. “I don’t doubt he might have done a little in the past, but I know he wasn’t a drug addict.”

It can happen here

Folks in Russell County knew little Wednesday of the victims, the murders or the murderers.

Vanan Mullender has cattle on the property, which is owned by his uncle, and has farmed the ground for about 16 years.

The farm consists of a small, white house, a few outbuildings, a couple of round grain bins and a pile of rusted farm machinery. The door to the farmhouse was ajar Wednesday morning, and some of the windows were boarded.

A mailbox with Kansas State Wildcat logos painted on the sides marks the driveway. The small Amherst Church, still used for Sunday services, sits across the road, next to a small cemetery.

Mullender, who hadn’t been able to get to the property to feed his cattle until Wednesday morning, said no one has lived in the house for about two years.

“The previous tenants were hard on it,” he said. “It needed a lot of work to be habitable again.”

He said he goes to the farm several times a week, to check on and feed his cattle. He’s noticed vehicle tracks leading to and from the house and outbuildings, and signs that people had turned vehicles around in the yard, but he has never seen anyone or any vehicles in the yard. He said his visits are irregular — sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening — so they wouldn’t be easy to anticipate.

He also walks through the buildings every now and then, to make sure everything is as it should be.

The only odd thing he could recall was a new padlock that had been placed several weeks ago on a metal machine shed in which his combine was stored.

“I knew the guy who had replaced it, and he gave me a key, but the key didn’t work,” Mullender said.

Mullender planned to replace the padlock, but with wheat harvest still months away, it wasn’t a priority.

Mullender wouldn’t say whether the bodies were found in that shed, and shied away from any discussion of how long the bodies might have been on the property or who might have committed the murders.

As he sat in his pickup truck after tending to his cattle, he said the situation has been a little upsetting.

“You just don’t want to think something like that could happen,” he said.

8 posted on 03/31/2004 10:52:23 PM PST by WKB (3!~ Term Limits: Because politicians are like diapers., need to be changed for the same reason.)
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Hmmmmmm.......southern Mississippi, methamphetamines, cattle farming......where have I heard all this before?
9 posted on 04/01/2004 7:58:53 AM PST by freedox
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To: freedox
Hmmmmmm.......southern Mississippi, methamphetamines, cattle farming......where have I heard all this before?

It DO sound familiar, don't it?

10 posted on 04/01/2004 12:06:16 PM PST by SuziQ
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Hattiesburg American story....

Police probe two slayings
2 area residents found dead in Kansas

By Stefanie McGee and Antoinette Konz
American Staff Writers

Photo courtesy of The Russell (Kansas) County News
Aerial view of the farm where bodies of a Hattiesburg couple were found Monday near Luray, Kan.

Two Hattiesburg police detectives are expected to travel to Kansas later this week to help authorities there investigate the slayings of two Hattiesburg residents.

The bodies of the victims, who haven't been identified by police, were discovered Monday during a drug raid in Russell County, Kan. The victims, a man and a woman, both in their mid- to late-30s, were killed in their home in Hattiesburg and taken to Russell County, Hattiesburg Police Chief David Wynn said.

"It is our belief that this gruesome crime did occur in this city," Wynn said in a prepared statement.

Wynn said the slayings are believed to have occurred around March 25. Kansas authorities have a man and a woman in custody in connection with the case, he said.

Wynn wouldn't release names of the victims pending notification of family members and autopsies. The autopsies being performed in Topeka, Kan., are expected to be completed Friday.

Sgt. Terrell Carson and Lt. Rusty Keys of the Hattiesburg Police Department are scheduled to go to Kansas by Friday, Wynn said. The department has been investigating the double homicide since being notified by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, which is also involved in the case.

Russell County Sheriff John Fletcher said the bodies were found when his deputies and the Kansas Bureau of Investigation executed a drug search warrant at an abandoned farm near Luray, Kan., on Monday.

The farm is owned by Rex Gillett of Russell, Kan. Russell County is 175 miles west of Topeka.

Fletcher described the area where the bodies were found as "very rural." He would not release any more details about the case. He said more information would be provided today.

The names of the suspects were not released because the case is under investigation. The suspects were staying with the victims at their Hattiesburg home, Wynn said.

It is believed the suspects are from Kansas. No motive has been determined, Wynn said.

Wynn refused to say where the Hattiesburg crime scene was located, citing an ongoing investigation. A search of a local neighborhood showed police were investigating a house at 908 Gulfport St. on Wednesday afternoon. Officers cordoned off the street leading to the home with crime scene tape.

Nearby resident Mary McGee said she only knew the male resident by his first name, Vernon.

A check of phone records and an address directory lists Vernon Hulett as the occupant of 908 Gulfport St. Hulett worked for the Hattiesburg Sanitation Department, McGee said.

The Hattiesburg American requested a copy of names of those working for the city's sanitation department. Hattiesburg spokeswoman Beth Baugh refused to release the information. She said the newspaper would have to file a formal request under the state's Open Records Act to obtain the information.

The city would then have two weeks to respond to the request.

The state's open records law protects most personnel records, but names of government employees are considered public record.

Tuesday, officers with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Russell County sheriff's office took evidence and removed a white Dodge pickup with a Mississippi license plate that was parked inside a farm shed, according to the Associated Press.

The truck was towed to the sheriff's office in Russell. Gillett's nephew, Van Mullender, stores farm equipment in the shed where the pickup was found by authorities.

"I hadn't seen it before," Mullender said of the pickup. "When they asked me what was mine in the shed, I didn't know anything about any pickup. I had never seen it."

11 posted on 04/01/2004 12:23:16 PM PST by mwyounce
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To: freedox
Where have you been hiding?
12 posted on 04/01/2004 5:30:57 PM PST by WKB (3!~ Term Limits: Because politicians are like diapers., need to be changed for the same reason.)
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To: SuziQ
Found out any hometown scoop on this yet?
13 posted on 04/01/2004 5:33:24 PM PST by WKB (3!~ Term Limits: Because politicians are like diapers., need to be changed for the same reason.)
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"Where have you been hiding?"

We were on the road for a couple of caught in sloooooooow traffic behind an old pickup truck with a chest freezer in the back.......

(Just kidding!!)

14 posted on 04/01/2004 5:56:28 PM PST by freedox
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Haven't contacted the cousins yet. Been a busy gal today!
15 posted on 04/01/2004 6:57:09 PM PST by SuziQ
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