Missing Girl's Death Ruled An Accident - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/17/03

Missing Girl's Death Ruled An Accident

Hancock County investigators said Marrina Ladner didn't have drugs or alcohol in her system. And foul play wasn't a factor in the college student's death.

Ladner's died after an accident on a narrow, two lane road near the Hancock County/Pearl River County line. A day after finding her body, Hancock County investigators tried to piece together what may have happened on Ladner's way home from work.

"We need to come back here Burt. We're trying to measure the length," John Luther yelled out to his assistant. Every measurement Luther took near the Cesar Necaise Road accident scene helped him reconstruct the harrowing last seconds of Marrina Ladner's life.

The biggest clue the Hancock County investigator spotted was between these two yellow dots he spray painted on the road. There were two faded tire marks in front of the Catahula Creek bridge. "Our investigation is going to be based upon that," Luther said, "that those actually were the marks made by the victim's vehicle."

From what investigators could tell, sometime around midnight September 6, Ladner's car came around a sharp Cesar Necaise Road corner. The tire tracks pointed police to the guard rail. "We know from the damage to the guard rail and to the concrete barrier along the road surface, we know the point where the vehicle had exited the roadway," Luther said.

Based on what the car looked like when it came out of the creek Tuesday, and the tire marks up on the road, investigators were pretty confident nobody forced Ladner off the road. There was rain the area the night of the accident. But whether that contributed to the tragedy was a mystery that Luther said may never be solved. "Obviously the problems we're encountering here are simply the number of days that have elapsed since the accident," the investigator said.

As the Hancock County Sheriff's Department team was leaving the scene, a neighbor drove up and walked to the creek. He said what many people were thinking about the 19 year old girl whose life ended too soon. It was all just "so sad."

by Brad Kessie

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