After numerous pleas to the media and police for help, the family of missing 34-year-old Jamie Wilkes of Meridian found closure after her body was discovered in a drained pond Wednesday morning. Captain Dean Harper with the Meridian Police Department says that during the 18-day search they tracked down numerous leads.
"As we had said before, especially on Facebook, we'd had people call in saying they thought they had seen her here or thought they had seen her there," said Harper. "We investigated all of those leads. We stayed in touch with the family trying to gather more information, trying to go places she could have been or might have been hanging out."
Wilkes was last seen walking near her residence on 64th Avenue on March 2nd, a mere quarter mile from the pond her body was ultimately recovered. Now the investigation shifts from a search, to putting the pieces together to find out exactly what happened.
"Sometimes when we have a case when we don't know the reason, it's sent off to autopsy for analysis," said Harper. "So until we know specifically what happened and what the manner of death was, we will treat this as a homicide."
While Wilkes' cause of death is still unknown, it's not unusual for police to treat cases like this initially as a homicide, even if it turns out that's not the case.
"What people don't understand is we investigate dead bodies all the time," said Harper. "Most of the time they're either accidental, suicidal, or a medical reason."
Police are waiting for initial autopsy results that should be available within 48 hours before following leads or naming possible suspects.
Friends of Wilkes have established an account to collect money for her family. She was married with four children.
Donations will be accepted at First Mississippi Federal Credit Union in Meridian for the Jamie Champion Wilkes Fund. For more information, call 601- 693-6873.