HANCOCK COUNTY (WLOX) - The vehicles of family and friends lined the road leading up to Jay Cuevas' home off Firetower Road Wednesday afternoon. Hancock County authorities say around 2pm, Cuevas' body was found behind a shed on his property. His death appeared to be a suicide.
"We're saddened at the lost of Jay. He's surely going to be missed," said Rocky Pullman, President for Hancock County Board of Supervisors.
Though officials are slow to release details of how Cuevas died, county officials revealed Cuevas did not hang himself. Authorities say they will wait until an autopsy is performed to release any additional information.
WLOX learned Wednesday afternoon the state Attorney General's office issued a warrant for Cuevas. He was charged for misdemeanor theft of county property, more specifically, stealing fuel.
"Rather than upset his family by arresting him at his home, our investigator called him and asked that he turn himself in," Public Information Officer Jan Schaefer told WLOX News. "When he did not come to the jail, our investigator went to his home, where he found Mr. Cuevas... deceased. Our heart goes out to his family."
Back in 2007, Cuevas was arrested for shoplifting in Grand Isle, Louisiana. A grocery store owner said Cuevas stole about $200 worth of merchandise. Cuevas pleaded not guilty, but was convicted on the charges. He was ordered to pay a $577 fine and do ten hours of community service.
The incident had little impact on his political career. Just a week before the conviction, Cuevas was re-elected to the Board of Supervisors.
Jay Cuevas represented Hancock County's 5th District for more than 10 years. The district covers parts of North Hancock County, including the Kiln.
Despite the charges, Hancock County officials were careful not to speculate on why Cuevas might have taken his life.
"You never know what's lurking in a person's heart," says Pullman.
Though still dealing with the shock, those who worked with him tried to focus on how they remembered him best, helping others in any way he could. Many recalled his work with countless fundraisers throughout the county.
"When it came to a fundraiser, sporting events or charitable event, Jay Cuevas was behind the scenes cooking and working. He worked tireless hours trying to help people less fortunate than himself. He was good man," Pullman said.
Bay St. Louis Mayor Eddie Favre was among those shocked to hear the news of Cuevas' death.
"Jay and I grew up together. And his kids and my kids, coaching baseball together, and soccer together with him. Just a lifelong friend. Regardless of what the situation was, it's never that bad. So it does really come as a total shock to all of us," Favre said.
A spokesperson for the family did come out while WLOX was at Cuevas' home. The family said it was still grieving and will comment at a later time.
The board's attorney said they would look for an interim supervisor until a special election could be held. Cuevas was 50-years-old and leaves behind his wife, Patricia, two children and one grandchild.