Relatives and friends mourn murdered family - - Jackson, MS

Relatives and friends mourn murdered family

BRANDON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The tragic murders of 3 family members have left a whole community in shock and almost inconsolable grief. The bodies of 30-year old Atira Hughes-Smith, her 7-year-old son Jaidon, and husband, 34-year-old LaTerry Smith were found Tuesday morning in Copiah County.

A vigil was held at Stonebridge Elementary School where Jaidon Hill was in second grade.  Along with his family, his classmates are trying to understand why anyone would take his life.

"It lit up his whole face. Literally ear to ear, literally when you talk about smiling ear to ear, he was just...and he loved to hug", said Dr. Sue Townsend, Principal at Stonebridge Elementary School.

Jaidon Hill's principal Dr. Sue Townsend says her staff will not try to explain his death.

"We'll be here for them, we'll have counselors here for them. We'll hug them and love them and support them," said Dr. Townsend. "But we do leave that to the families as far as the explanation of why."

The flag in front of Stonebridge Elementary was lowered in the 7 year old's memory. Ministers offered prayers and encouragement to family members, Jaidon's classmates, their parents, and staff at the school.

"A lot of them are really upset especially his classmates, and we're all really upset cause he was such a sweet boy," said PTO President Christy Singleton.

Copiah County investigators found Jaidon, his mother, Atira Hughes- Smith and her husband LaTerry Smith Tuesday morning in a densely wooded area inside an abandoned home. They were about a mile from where the burned out SUV belonging to Atira Hughes-Smith was found Saturday.

"It was close to the crash site but the crash site showed that the car was coming this way," said Copiah County Sheriff Harold Jones. "So we had no indication they had already brought these bodies here and then went back and came back and crashed on the way through here."

The Copiah County coroner confirmed they all died from gunshot wounds. Forty-two year old Timothy Burns is in custody charged with arson in connection with the case. He led authorities to the bodies, dashing all hopes for the family of the miracle they prayed for.

"There are moments where it really seems surreal and then the gravity of the situation really hits home," said Dr. Wayne Bass, Jaidon's pastor at Trinity United Methodist Church.

Family members say they know of no connection Burns had with Atira Hughes-Smith or LaTerry Smith.

Classes will not be held at Stonebridge Wednesday due to scheduled Parent/Teacher Conferences. Counselors will be on the campus Thursday.

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