Hinds Co. Coroner Identifies Body Found in Edwards - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Hinds Co. Coroner Identifies Body Found in Edwards

By Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

HINDS COUNTY, MS (WLBT) -  The Hinds County Coroner confirmed Monday night that the body found in Edwards last Friday is that of a missing Clinton woman.

Dental records had to be used to confirm the match. 81 year old Ethel Simpson was beaten to death in the head and neck. Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart says there were no signs of sexual abuse.

The man suspected in Simpson's disappearance made his first appearance in court Monday morning.  Convicted sex offender James Hutto, is in custody in Alabama and has been questioned by local investigators.

"We're not going to share any information that we've gathered so far, anything that has to do with the investigation," said Hinds County Sheriff Malcolm McMillin.

Hutto visited the Baptist Healthplex in Clinton as a guest last Monday morning where he met Simpson.  Sheriff McMillin said Hutto was a predator looking for a vulnerable victim.

"He may have heard her in conversation.  He may have observed her in the past and said that might be a sympathetic ear to a story he was to tell," said Sheriff McMillin.

Simpson befriended Hutto after he told her he was battling cancer and had no family.  Late Monday night the two went to a casino in Vicksburg and that is the last time anyone saw the elderly woman.  A body, authorities believe to be her, was found in Edwards Friday.

In light of Simpson's disappearance, Baptist Health Systems has changed the rules at their Healthplexes in Clinton and in Jackson.

"From now on any guests need to be with a member and also they are going to have to present a photo id and of course fill out the typical paperwork," said Baptist Health Systems spokesperson Robbie Channell.  He said the guest information form was what investigators used to identify Hutto as the man with Simpson.

The 39 year old was captured in Lee County, Alabama Friday.  He is accused of stabbing a man that morning in Opelika.  Hutto is being held there under $250,000 bond.  Hutto's relative, Virginia Rardon, was found dead in her Birmingham home Thursday.  Police investigators said it is unclear if she died of natural causes or if foul play was involved.

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