MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX) - Moss Point police now confirm someone killed Willie Burns, Jr. Chief Brandon Ashley told WLOX News the Moss Point man’s death is a murder investigation.
“We received a call of a suspicious vehicle on Earl Boulevard,” Ashley said. “There was physical trauma. It was obvious, at least to us, to investigate as a homicide.”
What Moss Point investigators must determine is who attacked the victim and what the motive might have been.
“Through our preliminary investigation, we believe the crime actually occurred someplace else,” Ashley said. “We are trying to locate that location at this time. We do not believe it happened were the body was found, where the vehicle was found. We believe the body and the vehicle were dropped off there.”
The chief said signs of physical trauma on the victim’s body indicate he was attacked by his killer but was not shot.
“There’s some trauma to his body. We can’t tell exactly how it was caused or what was used, but there are signs he was assaulted somehow,” he said.
Ashley said this was not a random death. The suspect reportedly had some sort of connection to Burns.
“We know he was assaulted some type of way,” he said. “At this time we are trying to figure out who he was last in contact with, and that’s probably going to tell us a lot. We’re doing this using phone records and trying to trace back what he was doing that last day of his life.
“There’s a motive behind it, whether it’s a personal connection or anything else. We believe the motive at this time is unknown, but it has to do with who he was last in contact with,” Ashley said.
Loved ones tell WLOX News Burns was from a big family. He lived in Moss Point, graduated from Moss Point High School, and worked at Ingalls Shipyard as a contract worker. He was a father to two girls and one boy.
“He would give you anything he had,” said his sister Yolanda McCullum-Horne. She described as a family comedian, provider and had a heart of gold.
Anyone with information about Burns is urged to contact authorities.
“No lead is insignificant. No tip is insignificant. We want to know any information that anyone knows of Mr. Burns, when they saw him or who they saw him with," Ashley said. "They can call police or Crime Stoppers, doesn’t matter the time frame. There’s no statute of limitations on homicide. Whether it takes six months or six years, we’re going to work this case until we find out who murdered Mr. Willie Burns”
Burns’s body has been sent to the state crime lab for autopsy. Ashley said he is waiting on the coroner’s office and medical examiner to determine the cause of death.