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Man found dead inside ‘free’ vehicle was a ‘kind and gentle soul,’ family says

Man found dead inside ‘free’ vehicle was a ‘kind and gentle soul,’ family says
Man found dead inside ‘free’ vehicle was a ‘kind and gentle soul,’ family says(Family)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 4:31 PM CDT
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COPIAH COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - The family of a man who was found dead inside a “free” vehicle over the weekend is now speaking out about their loved one.

Anthony Joel McCrillis’ body was discovered by two men Sunday who drove the vehicle, which had a “free car” sign on it and keys still inside, from Byram to Copiah County.

The men would only look inside the back of the vehicle after arriving at a family member’s home.

Despite reports that he was found nude, according to his mother, Angie, McCrillis still had on a t-shirt and his cross necklace.

Coroner Ellis Stuart said McCrillis appeared to have been in the vehicle for a number of days.

Byram Police Chief David Errington said McCrillis’ vehicle, which according to Angie McCrillis was a hatchback, was spotted in Byram, Copiah County and Jackson.

Police have not yet determined where the original crime took place, but that McCrillis was alive at 9 p.m. Friday evening.

A GoFundMe has now been set up for the funeral of the deceased 34-year-old who, his family says, had no insurance.

“We are heartbroken that our son and brother was the person on the news and all over social media as the ‘body in the trunk’ in (FREE) car,” the GoFundMe reads.

The online fundraiser states that McCrillis had recently finished a rehabilitation program in Arkansas and had moved back to Mississippi over Labor Day weekend to be near family.

Family described McCrillis as a “kind and gentle soul who wouldn’t hurt anyone or anything.”

The GoFundMe asks for donation but says prayers would also suffice as the family awaits the results of McCrillis’ autopsy.

Chief Errington said that there were no signs of obvious trauma to McCrillis’ body and the next step in the investigation is to get the vehicle processed for evidence.

At the end of the GoFundMe, the family writes that McCrillis liked to write Bible verses as he read them. This, his family said, helped him to memorize them.

They then reveal the last Bible verse McCrillis ever wrote, which was Luke 22:33: And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison, and to death.

“Joel was at peace with himself,” the GoFundMe concludes.

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