It was two weeks ago that a Utica man was murdered and a woman at the home abducted. Law officers continue the search for accused killer Michael Wright.
According to the victim's relatives, Jerry Brent was killed while protecting his niece from a man they hardly knew but have grown to fear.
Brent's daughter is searching for answers to questions that only the kidnap victim Sharice Latham can provide. Santina Brent is still mourning the sudden loss of her father who authorities say was killed October 9th by 36 year old Michael Wright.
"My dad was a good guy. He was always a protective father," said the grieving daughter.
The 55 year old moved from Texas to take care of his bed ridden mother, Evelyn Manning, in Utica. His niece, 34 year old Sharice Latham, was also living at the residence.
Relatives said she ran away from Wright. but they did not know he was her husband.
Manning told her granddaughter that she only heard the fatal encounter.
"My grandmother told me that during that morning time she heard Sharice hollering 'Help, help, help', and she hollered for my dad to go see what was wrong with Sharice," said Brent. "At the time once the shot was made she heard Sharice hollering 'I'll go, I'll go, I'll go', and that's all she heard."
After the gunfire her father lay dead on the screened porch, and Latham was gone. The hunt for Wright continues.
"The whole community is just in fear and locked down," said family member Emma Young.
U.S. Marshals have canvassed the area with Wright's wanted fliers, leaving the materials in her mailbox. She said family members were told Latham is in protective custody.
"We hadn't heard from her or anything. We hadn't talked with her," said Young. "She's supposed to have gone to the hospital to get checked out, but she never returned to us."
The Hinds County resident said U.S. Marshals broke into Latham's car Tuesday and removed evidence. Broken glass littered the ground and fingerprint residue remained on the doors of the silver Nissan Sentra.
Latham left the car parked at the Utica home after she told law enforcement that she escaped from Wright, who held her hostage.
Meanwhile the community remains on guard wanting answers.
"You have to have guns drawn and carry at night time," a nervous Young said. "You're asleep, you hear a bump. You're thinking it's somebody out there because we don't know."
"If she's involved with anything, I just want her to tell the truth," added Brent.
Hinds County Sheriff's Department Spokesman Othor Cain said investigators found inconsistencies in Latham's account of events, and the agency is no longer in contact with her.
U.S. Marshals have taken over the investigation and a $5,000.00 reward is being offered for Michael Wright's capture.
Call 662-934-1221 if you have seen Wright or know where he may be located.
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