Homicide investigation begins after missing teen body found shot in Jefferson Davis Co.; teen identified

Questions were asked about what the sheriff’s department believes happened to Burke, and...
Questions were asked about what the sheriff’s department believes happened to Burke, and Dampier has said that JDCSD will release a statement to address those questions.(Jefferson Davis County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 2:53 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON DAVIS COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - A homicide investigation is underway after a body found in Jefferson Davis County has been identified as a teenager recently reported missing.

Jefferson Davis County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Vernon Dampier has confirmed that 14-year-old Hayden Burke of Carson has been identified as the body found in Prentiss on Wed. Sept. 6.

According to Dampier and the county coroner Dedra Johnson, Burke was reportedly shot but they did not confirm how many gunshot wounds Burke received.

Dampier says the sheriff’s department has launched a homicide investigation into Burke’s death and will hold a news conference Monday to address what they have possibly found.

Burke was reported missing by the sheriff’s department on Aug. 3 but was last seen on Monday, Sept. 4.

The Jefferson Davis County Coroner’s Office said a body was found in the Prentiss area, and according to Dampier, the body was found face down in the Whitesand Community along Whitesand Church Road by oil company workers around 7:45 a.m.

During the start of the investigation, JCDSD believed the body was of a male between the ages of 18 to 20-years-old and suspected foul play was involved.

Johnson said Burke’s body was sent off to the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory in Biloxi a day after his body was found.

No other information can be given at this time as the coroner awaits Burke’s preliminary autopsy report to return which can take a few days. Johnson said the full autopsy usually can take months.

JCDSD handled the DNA testing but it has not reported how the DNA was tested and determined.

The story will be updated when more information becomes available.

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