Family Mourns Loss Of Young Moss Point Woman

"Shelby loved life," Gary Kile, Jr. says as he glances at a picture of his sister.

Those who knew 24 year old Carol Gattis, better known as Shelby, say she was just the girl next door. But in this case, next door meant living in a neighborhood that her brother Gary says wasn't the best.

"We knew that our brothers and sisters were going to struggle, going from the country living to a hard point of Moss Point, where there are certainly a lot of challenges of day to day life," Kile says.

On Wednesday, less than 48 hours before her death, Gattis was released from the Moss Point city jail. Chief Demetrius Drakeford says she was stopped on a traffic violation, and arrested for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

"The easy lure of doing or accepting some drugs and sometimes selling drugs to friends for money lured her in. She tried and tried to get away, she had a few run-ins with the law. We were always very scared something would happen to her," Kile says.

"She did run with some people that do have histories of drug involvement and drug arrests, and that possibly did lead to her ultimate death," Captain Mick Sears, chief investigator for the Jackson County Sheriff's Department, says.

Investigators say they found Gattis's body on Pollocks Ferry Road early Friday morning. Pollocks Ferry Road is a very rural part of Jackson County. At this time, investigators say they still believe the crime was drug related. But family members say, they have a different opinion.

"Although she made many mistakes in life, she was someone who always believed in continuing to try. I just think she was continuing to try, and John Moffet looked like a better than, if nothing else, opportunity to try to escape the day to day grinds that many in the Moss Point community face," Kile says.

Captain Sears says Moffet was no stranger to trouble.

"I think he's got some drugs, some assaults, I'm not sure what his total history was, but he has been in and out of the system for awhile," Sears says.

Shelby's family hopes that she won't soon be forgotten, and that her life story will serve as a lesson to others.

"When there are no opportunities other than what we currently provide, we will hear story's like Shelby's time and time again," Kile says.

Sheriff Mike Byrd is applauding all the agencies that helped in the arrest. As for Shelby's family, they say they're in extreme need of financial assistance to give her a proper burial. If you can help this family, you can call Judith Peck, Shelby's aunt, at 228-424-2099.