Lafayette County Man Charged In Ole Miss Student's Drowning

Murder charges have been filed in the weekend drowning of a 19-year-old University of Mississippi student, authorities said Wednesday.

Panola County Sheriff David Bryan said Demetrius Smith, 26, was being held without bond in the county jail in Batesville.

Smith, of the Lambert community in Quitman County near Marks, was arrested by Oxford police on Tuesday on charges of kidnapping and sexual battery in the death of Carnesha Nelson of Moss Point. He was later taken to Panola County where authorities believe she was murdered.

Nelson's body was discovered Saturday in the upper lake region of Sardis Lake near the dam in Panola County by two fishermen. She had been missing from her apartment at The Cove Apartments & Racquet Club since Thursday morning.

Nelson's body was taken to Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville where it was identified. An autopsy performed by Dr. Steve Hayne with Mississippi Mortuary Services in Pearl determined the cause of death to be freshwater drowning.

Oxford police said officers responded to a call from The Cove on Thursday of a resident reporting a woman screaming in the apartment parking lot. Assistant Police Chief Mike Martin said officers found no one in the area.

"At that point and time we didn't know who it was - just a female. It wasn't until Saturday morning we were able to tie it together through probability,'' Martin said.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)