Investigators Get Break In 20-Year-Old Murder - - The News for South Mississippi

Investigators Get Break In 20-Year-Old Murder

Fourteen-year-old Robert Cook died in a fire that destroyed his mother's trailer on Dewey Lawrence Circle in D'Iberville. Harrison County Sheriff's investigators were at first suspicious, but ruled the 1986 fire and death "accidental."

Sheriff George Payne says 20 years later, information began trickling in. 

"We had some information from an individual who came forward who actually told us basically what happened. And we started interviewing other people, found another witness who corroborated everything for us, put the last piece of the puzzle together," Payne says.

That information led to the capital murder indictment of 53-year-old Ricky Lane Rush of Gulfport. 

Payne says, "We think the motive in this case, the sole purpose of him burning down the trailer, was to kill the mother who was trying to interfere in the adoption of a child he was trying to adopt. But what happened is the mother and the boyfriend got out of the trailer and the 14-year-old child burned up in the trailer."

Sheriff Payne says a case this old doesn't just fall in their laps. Because it was ruled accidental his investigators weren't even actively pursuing the case and it passed to the inactive file.

"We weren't looking at this case at all. This case came to us through caring people and witnesses who thought they needed to tell somebody. So we reactivated the case, started putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, did one final interview that put the one piece of the puzzle together, and we were able to get the indictment."

Ricky Lane Rush is in jail with no bond. The Sheriff said he is being investigated for the death of another person related to this case.

The girl Rush adopted was the 14-year-old fire victim's sister. Attorney Fred Lusk of Biloxi handled the adoption and represented Rush in other matters. Lusk says Rush is being held in the jail's medical ward because he has terminal pancreatic cancer.

by Marcia Hill

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