JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Despite the controversy swirling around him, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd will not resign. That word came Wednesday from Byrd's attorney, Joe Sam Owen.
The sheriff has not been at work the last few days, but the media was camped outside his Pascagoula office this week as talk of his possible resignation spread. There were also rumors he had cleared out his office.
The sheriff has come under heavy criticism in the last several months and is facing legal action regarding some cases handled by his office.
As to what might happen now, Owen would only say they will deal with whatever the next step in the process is.
What do citizens and county officials have to say about all this? The speculation has been spreading across social media platforms since Monday. Of course, in the small towns of Jackson County, people talk.
"I am a big Facebook person, in the morning drinking my coffee and at night time before I go to bed. I would say it is actually getting bigger with all this secrecy going on. It makes it more enticing to try to see if someone knows more than you," resident Eddie Read said.
"I heard it at my child's school and it was all over the school," Jackson County businessman Michael Majure said.
But all the speculation in the community does disturb some.
"I thought the American Justice system was innocent until proven guilty. I think we need to turn around and start looking at ourselves before we start talking about things we really don't know," Majure said.
Sheriff Byrd has faced growing criticism over the county's narcotics task force splitting up and the several arrests his investigators made that were later thrown out by a grand jury.
County Supervisor Troy Ross has also heard accusations and gossip, but he said the sheriff still has his job.
"We, as a board, haven't been notified of any intent or anything that might lead us to believe he is going to resign in the near future as of right now," Ross said.
Wednesday was the second day the sheriff didn't show up for work. The department's chief deputy told WLOX he had not spoken with Sheriff Byrd, but said the department is fully staffed with qualified deputies. And if there is a problem, the sheriff is a phone call away.