Coroner identifies man found in freezer; three in custody


Police have taken into custody three suspects after finding a dead body in a freezer Tuesday at a Lamar County home.

Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said three Purvis residents were arrested and charged in relation to the investigation:

·      Samantha Simmons, 35, charged with grand larceny over $25,000

·      Andy Hartfield, 51, charged with receiving stolen property

·      Will Bryson, 23, charged with receiving stolen property.

Simmons will not be eligible for bond, as she was already out on bond for a previous felony charge.

Lamar County Coroner Cody Creel identified the deceased man as 54-year-old Thomas Burns.

Lamar County deputies received a call about 1 p.m. Tuesday about a man’s body being found in a freezer by a family member and neighbor in the 1200 block of Purvis Oloh Road. Rigel said Burns had been reported missing by his family the previous day.

“They searched the house and there was no sign of him,” he said. “So they went back (Tuesday) and found him in the freezer.”

Members of Hattiesburg Police department assisted Lamar County officials with processing the scene.

Burns’ body was sent Tuesday afternoon to the state crime lab in Jackon for an autopsy.

“We don’t have any idea what the cause of death is yet,” Rigel said. “We’ll know a lot more after the autopsy.”

Officials cannot yet release which stolen items are involved in the investigation.

“We’re still doing inventory on all of it,” Rigel said. “Almost the entire house was taken, and vehicles.”