Men take vehicle with ‘free car’ sign, later find body in trunk

Published: Sep. 19, 2021 at 3:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2021 at 10:37 AM CDT
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COPIAH CO., Miss. (WLBT) - According to Copiah County Sheriff Byron Swilley, a body was found inside of a vehicle in Copiah County.

Sheriff Swilley said a man drove the vehicle from Byram to Copiah County but realized that there was a body inside the vehicle’s trunk.

Coroner Ellis Stuart said two men found the car in Byram with a “free car” sign on it, with the key inside. They drove the car to Copiah County and looked inside after arriving at a family member’s home.

The body has been identified as 34-year-old Anthony Mccrillis. Stuart said his body had been in there for several days and was found without clothes.

“He was identified through his tattoos and confirmed through his immediate family of his identity,” Byram Police Chief David Errington said.

Errington said the victim’s vehicle was seen in Byram, Copiah County, and Jackson over the last few days. Police have not yet determined where the original crime took place.

Errington said his department is taking the lead on the investigation until the departments in those areas figure out who gets jurisdiction.

He said an officer spotted Mccrillis’ car parked on the side of Old Byram road at 9:30 Saturday morning.

“It stayed there all day long for sure until 6 PM,” Errington said. “Saturday night, it was still seen by another employee from the junkyard.”

The manager of Starz Auto Sales, the junkyard Errington referred to, is named Dan Peacock. Peacock said he passed by the car a number of times Saturday. But by Sunday, it was gone.

“[I] never stopped and looked or anything, but I knew it was kind of unusual,” Peacock said. “I figured somebody was driving down here to sell it. We buy a bunch of cars. I figured somebody was driving down to sell it, and it quit on them or something. Just never dawned on me that something like that went on.”

“I wish I would have looked into it further,” Peacock said. “I might’ve been able to help them a little bit further with it, but I just never stopped and looked at it. If I had stopped and looked at it, I would’ve probably tripped. I would’ve probably flipped out if I had stopped and seen something like that.”

Errington said Mccrillis was seen alive just days ago.

“We do know that our victim was alive at 9 PM on Friday night,” he said. “He was seen on a home surveillance video.”

He said Mccrillis’ body had no signs of obvious trauma and that the next step in the investigation is to get the victim’s car and process it for evidence.

An autopsy will be done to determine the cause of death.

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