DESOTO COUNTY, MS (abc24.com) – A very strange case unfolded for Desoto County, Mississippi law enforcement on Monday January 9, 2012.
It involved a dead body found in a house fire in Olive Branch and another house in Southaven, booby-trapped with a hand grenade.
That brought in the Shelby County Bomb Squad, with its robot, to locate explosives, and involved multiple law enforcement agencies, including the FBI.
It all started about 10 a.m. when Desoto County deputies found a body at a house fire in Olive Branch in the eastern part of the county.
That led them to 1575 Whitehead in Southaven about 10:30 in the morning. Shortly after, they received an anonymous tip that house was wired with explosives.
“Yeah, they told us to leave all right,” said neighbor Danashia Kaufman, “I need to go.”
And with that, she did.
The neighborhood around 1575 Whitehead was evacuated, after the tip it was wired with explosives.
“Once we were in the house,” Desoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco told abc24.com, “we did see a hand grenade wired to the back door.”
A robot was sent in; it pulled the grenade down, which led to another discovery.
“It was not a live hand grenade,” Rasco said.
There were, however, other worries.
“There is a lot of ammunition in the house,” Rasco told abc24.com, “I don’t know exactly how many weapons.”
When pushed on the amount of ammunition, Rasco responded, “Several thousand rounds.”
Neighbors said they barely knew the victim.
“He was a quiet guy,” David Perry told abc24.com, “you’d hardly ever see him out. I was told he worked for the IRS.”
The body was sent to Jackson, Mississippi for an autopsy.
The case has a lot of twists and turns.
“We’re not tying the fire and the body together,” said Dick Hackett of the Desoto County Sheriff’s Office, “I’m very carefully saying there was a body found at the scene of the fire.”
The whole case seems very convoluted.
“It is,” said Sheriff Rasco, “it sure is.”
Hackett repeatedly emphasized to not connect the dead body to the house fire in Olive Branch, which opens up numerous scenarios.
A guy who lived near the victim in Southaven, seemed puzzled by the whole affair and told abc24.com: “I guess you never really know your neighbors.”
The victim's identity was later revealed to be 42-year-old Kenneth Wayne Cross.