Major Break In Case Of Missing Monroe County Man, Murdered In December

MONROE COUNTY, MISS. (WCBI) – It is a major break for investigators looking for a missing Monroe County man, believed to have been murdered last month.
After weeks of tracking down leads, and talking to numerous people, in the search for 39-year-old Jack Cowan, investigators ended up at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Hamilton.

“Thankfully the body had not been placed in a gravesite but it was placed at the edge of the cemetery near the woods, between the drive and the woods, we were able to dig down a few feet and recover what we believe to be the body of Jack Cowan,” said Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook.

The case began last month when deputies responded to a 9 1 1 call reporting a burned-out vehicle on the waterway levee near Amory. A missing person case was underway for Cowan, who was the driver of that car.

Within a week, four people, including Cowan’s girlfriend, 28-year-old Kayla Johns, were arrested in connection with his murder.  Also arrested was 37-year-old Tommy Gene Randolph and 36 year old Brian Lee Hoover.  Both men knew each other from stints in prison and a halfway house.  38-year-old Melonie Elizabeth Tate was charged with accessory after the fact.

While the sheriff says the case is drug-related, he says Cowan was not involved in any illegal activity.   Lead investigator Wayne Wilbanks says along with thousands of hours put into the case by search teams and other law officers, the community was also a big help.

“Tremendous, there was a lot of citizens in the Hamilton area, that, we didn’t realize had to video, so we, deputies said, ‘hey Wayne, go by and see so and so, they have footage for you,” Investigator Wilbanks said.

Sheriff Crook is hopeful the latest development will bring some peace to Cowan’s family.

“Hopefully it brings some kind of relief to the family that if we’ve recovered his body, but we also know there are questions that will linger until court time and so we hope to get this thing in court as soon as possible and get justice for Mister Cowan,” Sheriff Crook said.

The sheriff says there are still some loose ends to tie up in the investigation, but he doesn’t expect any more arrests in a very unusual murder case.

Cowan’s body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy.  The sheriff says Cowan knew all of the suspects, except for Brian Lee Hoover.

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