Lauderdale County officials were finally able to confirm the identity of the body found by fishermen May 28. Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun said the man was Derrian Montae Bragg of Philadelphia.
he long Memorial Day weekend delayed verification of what authorities suspected based on the physical evidence.
"That body had a pair of handcuffs on the body as well as the clothing description that was from a suspect that we had attempted to apprehend the Friday prior for being a suspect in a grand larceny," said Calhoun.
Calhoun said a resident had reported a motorcycle missing May 21 and a witness had seen someone matching Bragg's description pushing a motorcycle near that same time.
Calhoun said hours were spent searching for Bragg the day of his attempted arrest, using both deputy resources and LEMA's tracking dog. He said a couple of campers at Okatibbee said they were approached to give him a ride.
"A deputy showed up in the area and he fled into the woods," said the chief deputy. "We continued our search until a thunderstorm came up at approximately 6:45 that Friday evening. We were unable to locate him with a K-9. So a deputy stayed in the area for the rest of the evening, attempting to locate him. We were never were able to find him."
Coroner Clayton Cobler said the cause of death was confirmed as drowning.
Calhoun says the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is conducting a probe of what happened to Bragg.
"We felt it important that they handle a death investigation because our agency had been seeking him out the previous week," Calhoun said. "Based upon the fact that he was handcuffed we believe that he drowned sometime around the time that we last saw him or some time that night."
Calhoun says MBI has jurisdiction and will issue a report of its findings.