Body found in Neshoba pond identified

Neshoba County Sheriff Eric Clark says a body found weighted down in a pond in the Hope community on February 15th has been identified.

Clark says Neshoba County Medical Examiner John Stephens received the positive identification of the body on Thursday from the Mississippi Crime Laboratory in Jackson.  The victim was identified as DeMarquis KeiMondre’ Houston of Philadelphia.  Houston was reported missing in October by his mother.

Clark says on February 14th, the Neshoba County Sheriff’s Department and a Mississippi Highway Patrol Investigator executed a search warrant in rural Neshoba County off Highway 488 in the Hope community.  Officials began draining the pond that Friday morning around 8 a.m. and continued the efforts until the following afternoon.  “The search revealed a human body that had been placed in the farm pond for concealment,” he said. “The body was found to be weighted and anchored in about four to five feet of water.”

Sheriff Clark said on October 24th, Houston’s mother told authorities that her son had been missing since October 20th. She said her son told her that he was getting ready to leave with a female that night.

Clark said she told authorities she tried to contact her son on his cell phone, but she believed it was turned off. She also reported that she checked his Facebook activity and noticed that he checked in at a fast-food restaurant around 4 a.m. early the next morning, which was the last thing posted on his page.

So far, nine people have been charged in the case.  23-year-old James Kelly and 22-year-old Tyrone Braxton have been charged with kidnapping and capital murder. 26-year-old Joanna Brook Gilmer and 25-year-old Alexandria Bell have been charged with conspiracy to commit capital murder.  55-year-old Terry Crocker, 18-year-old Alexa Johnson, and 24-year-old Tyree Smith have been charged with hindering prosecution, rendering criminal assistance.  25-year-old Justus Barfield and 24-year-old Ian C. Thompson have been charged with accessory after the fact.

The case remains under investigation.