Missing man's body found in Covington County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Missing man's body found in Covington County

Benny Johnston (Photo source: Harrison Co. Sheriff's Dept.) Benny Johnston (Photo source: Harrison Co. Sheriff's Dept.)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The body of Benny Johnston has been found.

Harrison County Sheriff's investigators told WLOX News the body of the 25-year-old Biloxi man was located Monday evening in Covington County in a wooded area off Highway 49. Covington County is northwest of Hattiesburg, about 100 miles from where Johnston disappeared.

Johnston had been missing since Thursday night. He was last seen at a home on Thorton Hill Drive, where there was evidence of a fight. Witnesses told investigators Johnston was severely beaten. Blood was visible on the driveway and garage.

Two men, Sean Merritt, 25, and Brian Bradshaw, 25, were arrested Friday.  Both were initially  charged with assault and kidnapping.  Tuesday, those charges were upgraded to murder. Bond has been set at $1 million each.

One of the suspects turned himself into authorities in Richland about 55 miles from where the body was dumped.  Monday, investigators told WLOX News one of the men was cooperating and directed them to a location of Johnston's body.

Johnston's family searched the area near Three Rivers Road and the DeSoto National Forest over the weekend, but found no signs of him. Trang Pham-Bui is following the story and will have updates on WLOX News and WLOX.com.

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