Death investigation of James Ryan Taylor continues

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LOWNDES COUNTY,Miss. (WCBI)- New details unfolding in the death investigation of 39-year-old James Ryan Taylor.

As of now, three suspects have been arrested with possibly more to follow.

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Taylor went missing in July of 2020, leaving more questions than answers for family members and officers.

The heart-wrenching investigation will hopefully end with bringing Taylor home.

Lowndes County Sheriff Eddie Hawkins confirms 29-year-old Joseph Lane Purcell, 27-year-old Alan Michael Farley, and 55-year-old Deborah Johnston are now in custody.

” Since then, points have been pouring into the Columbus Police Department and the Lowndes County Sheriff Department. Investigators at the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department were able to get enough information to get probable cause and issue arrest warrants on the three individuals,” said Hawkins.

Right now, the motive isn’t clear why someone took Taylor’s life or how long they planned to hide it.

10 months ago, Taylor was traveling down Plymouth Road to have dinner with his mother. He didn’t know it would be the last time he would make it home.

Evidence is collected for most investigations. However, deputies are still searching for a key component, Taylor’s remains.

So, can law enforcement make an arrest without a body?

” In the criminal aspect of it, it appears the sheriff or whichever agency is arresting these individuals has more than that to go on. They have some witnesses or evidence that shows at least a presumption the person is deceased. That is probably through oral testimony, physical evidence, and or evidence that’s been covered through research and investigation by the department,” said Jeff Hosford.

Hosford is with Hosford Law Firm explains as long as evidence connects to the suspect, an arrest isn’t against the law.

“The Police Department or Sheriff Department is free to make any arrests they believe they have proof to hold that person on. Hopefully, the body will be recovered and the people that do it will be brought to justice,” said Hosford.

” We anticipate arrest warrants being made in the future on additional suspects who are involved in this investigation. We’re trying to get closure for the family. We know it’s difficult when someone loses a loved one like this. We have no knowledge of whereabouts or any information for such a long time, it’s painful for the family,” said Hawkins.

No bond had been set for Purcell and Farley.

Johnston has a bond of $100,000 dollars with accessory after the fact.

If you have any information, please contact Lowndes County Sheriff Department or Golden Triangle Crime Stoppers.