Murder shocks quiet Jackson County community

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - You can almost feel the tension pulsing through a small Orange Grove neighborhood as the troubling news spreads. Officials say 46-year-old Donna Slater was found in her home off of Shingle Mill Landing Road Thursday afternoon and was pronounced dead at 5 p.m.

According to officials, the wheelchair bound woman appeared to have died from an injury to her neck by a sharp object. Neighbors shared their disbelief with WLOX Friday.

"I am shaking," Chad Tillman said.  "I'm upset. I really am. I mean this is right at my home."

"It's kinda scary to know that someone just down the road here has gotten murdered," said Tomi Guillotte.

"I was shocked," added Walter Harris.  "You know, that's about all I know though."

These neighbors didn't know Donna Slater, but they say the shock is still overwhelming. They say the Orange Grove neighborhood is usually very quiet, and many doors stay unlocked.  The Sheriff's Department says the same could have been true for Ms. Slater's home.

"There's no signs of forced entry, although we have learned that this lady never locks her doors," said Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd. The investigation is ongoing.

"The detective division worked on this all through the night, and they are continuing to look at this matter as we speak," Byrd said.  "We are in the process at this time of following up leads, interviewing people, to try to find out what happened."

So far, officials have not released names of any possible suspects or a possible motive. Sheriff Byrd says his department is working tirelessly on the case. There are still many questions left to answer, and until then, many neighborhood residents will not sleep soundly.

When asked if neighbors were on edge, Chad Tillman replied, "Oh yeah. The ones that know. That's why we're going around letting everybody know. To keep an eye out."

Tillman and other neighbors just hope that justice is served in the case.

"I hope that they get whoever did this," said Guillotte.  "Because I stay alone a lot. And that's horribly frightening to know."

"God willing, they'll catch this horrible killer," said Tillman.

WLOX and will have more information on this case as it develops. In the meantime, anyone with information should contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Department at 228-769-3063.

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