GREENE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Jackson County's dive team members submerged themselves in a murky pond off a rural road in Greene County on Wednesday, hoping to find a key piece of evidence in a murder investigation. Just two days earlier, George County deputies made a gruesome discovery under a culvert in the pond.
"We could see a tarp, which was consistent with the tip we had received, because they actually described the tarp to us," George County Sheriff's Department Capt. Ben Brown said.
Wrapped in the tarp were skeletal remains weighed down with bricks. Investigators are pretty certain the remains belong to Donovan Cowart, who deputies have spent hundreds of hours searching for in the past two years.
"We've received tip after tip, and we have checked them all out. We have been in other states. We have been up and down bodies of water," George County Sheriff Dean Howell said.
After finding the remains on Monday, investigators honed in on Robert Stevens, 27, and Welford McCarty, 35, both of George County.
"They seemed to be surprised. They didn't know what was going on," Greene County Sheriff Stanley McLeod said.
"And then, once they began to realize we had physical evidence, people began to confess to what was going on," Brown said.
Stevens even showed investigators how they tossed evidence into the pond and where he thought they might be able to find it. Unfortunately, divers were unable to find anything, but investigators are not giving up. They hope to drain the pond next week.
Until then, deputies have other leads to follow and say more arrests could be made.
"It's a good feeling, more so for the family than for our agency," Brown said. "It's been a long two years for them, and I'm glad we were able to bring it together and make some arrests."
Deputies say they believe both suspects lived in Greene County at the time of the murder and knew the victim. At this point in the investigation, they believe drugs were involved.
An autopsy is being done on the remains to confirm if they are in fact Cowart and how he died.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations and the FBI also helped the George and Green County Sheriff's Departments in the investigation.