Tuesday autopsy will determine if body found is missing Gautier - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Tuesday autopsy will determine if body found is missing Gautier woman

Amanda Hicks was last seen Feb. 8 at her Gautier home before it caught fire. (Photo source: Gautier Police) Amanda Hicks was last seen Feb. 8 at her Gautier home before it caught fire. (Photo source: Gautier Police)
James Vanlaningham (Photo source: Jackson County jail docket) James Vanlaningham (Photo source: Jackson County jail docket)
JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Jessica Cook spent Monday examining what's left of the trailer that was once Amanda Hicks' home. Hicks hasn't been seen since February, and Cook is leading an effort to find her.

"She wasn't the type of person to just get up and disappear," Cook said.

Now Gautier police believe they may have located the missing 37-year-old mother. Jackson County sheriff's deputies responded to Pine Grove United Methodist Church Saturday after parishioners found a body in the woods. Even though the body found behind the church was badly decomposed, investigators say there are numerous indicators suggesting that it's Hicks, and they believe foul play is involved.

"If it is her, her son's gonna have closure and he's gonna know where she is and what happened to her," Cook said.

Gautier Police searching for missing woman

Sergeant Nick Crocker said they're now waiting on the coroner and a Tuesday autopsy to confirm both her identity and cause of death.

"I'm hoping there's some closure, some answers, some questions answered," Cook said.

Hicks was last seen leaving her trailer at Santa Maria RV Park in Gautier February 8 with her boyfriend, James Vanlaningham. Shortly after, the trailer was on fire.

Vanlaningham is charged with arson and is currently behind bars at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center. But Hicks still nowhere to be found.

Police say once the body is identified, they'll be able to continue the investigation, and hopefully find out exactly what happened. That autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.

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