Sheriff Questions Suspect In Murder Of Former Stone Co. Supervisor

Duncan Hatten
Duncan Hatten

WIGGINS (WLOX) -- On Tuesday, Stone County Sheriff's deputies were questioning a man they say may be connected to the murder of a former county supervisor. Authorities said 64-year-old Duncan Hatten was found shot to death at inside his home on Duncan Hatten Road.

The massive searched included helicopters and dogs. Officers from several agencies were all on a man hunt for the person responsible for killing Hatten.

Stone County Sheriff Mike Farmer said, "We had found a footprint across the pond down and we tracked it. Greene County sent their bloodhounds over. Harrison County sent their K-9s. We've got the Harrison County chopper, plus the Highway Patrol chopper."

Farmer says the officers followed the track through a wooded area near the Hatten house.

"We're talking to a guy right now that is a possible suspect. Not 100 percent sure, but we're leaning towards him."

The Sheriff says whoever killed Duncan Hatten was probably in the Hatten house around 10 a.m. Tuesday when a deputy responded to a burglary alarm. The deputy talked to Hatten.

"His [Duncan Hatten's] alarm had went off. He spoke to him. He said everything was clear. He said he'd checked the house. [The deputy] stayed and talked to him a few minutes. They walked around the house looking around. At 10:24 a.m. my deputy left."

A 11 a.m., just half an hour later, a 911 call came in from the Hatten house. Wiggins Fire Chief Jody Hatten found his father Duncan dead in the garage. The Sheriff says it appeared Duncan Hatten had been shot once in the chest.

"He's going to be missed," said Sheriff Farmer. "Well thought of in the community."

Duncan Hatten was very well known to the Stone County community. He served on the school board and spent eight years on the Stone County Board of Supervisors.  Duncan Hatten is a direct descendent of Wiggins Hatten, the founder of the city of Wiggins.

In 2003, I sat down with Duncan Hatten at his home as he recovered from surgery to remove a pair of 3 1/4 inch nails from his heart. Hatten, a contractor by trade, had accidentally fallen onto his nail gun.

"I just figured that I was going to die. In fact, I told my coworker Mark Hilbern to tell my family that I loved them. I figured I wasn't going make it," Hatten said in that 2003 interview.

Hatten told me then that the experience had given him a new appreciation for friends, family, and for life.

"It really makes you realize that you really don't know what is going happen from one minute to the next," said Duncan Hatten. "I'm a really strong believer in God, and I really believe it wasn't my time to go."

Five years later, the family is trying to cope with the fact that Duncan Hatten's life has ended in what law enforcement is calling a home invasion. Sheriff Mike Farmer says there were signs of a struggle inside Duncan Hatten's home.