Hancock County

Family believes body found in woods is missing man

The family of Jason Johnson, who has been missing 12 days, believes a body found in the woods on family property in the Kiln community Monday are his remains, a family friend said.

Though officials have not identified the body found off Road 274, family friend Ashley Ladner said it was Johnson. She helped coordinate the search for him and has been with the family throughout their search.

Johnson, 33, was last seen Aug. 24 leaving his home on Road 274, which is off Mississippi 603. His wife reported him missing to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday.

The Labor Day discovery came as relatives and friends resumed their search on 17 acres of family property and a deputy sheriff with a K-9 joined them.

The T-shirt Johnson was last seen wearing was found within 30 minutes of the start of Monday’s search and a deputy later found his body, Ladner said.

Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said the identity has not yet been officially confirmed.

“It could be someone else and not him,” Faulk said.

Faulk helped recover the body about 3:20 p.m.

The coroner said the body was taken to Bay St. Louis for further examination.

Hoped for good results

A number of people had showed up for the search.

“We came in hoping for good results,” Ladner said, adding that Johnson was easy to love.

“He loved his family, he loved his kids. His family was number one,” she said. “Right now, I mean, all we can do is ask for prayers and thank everybody that came out today to help and search.”

She added, “There’s still going to be questions.”

Details of death pending

Faulk declined to release information on the manner and cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation.

Chief Deputy Don Bass said a deputy took his bloodhound to help in the search. He said he would leave details to the coroner.

Amanda McCoy, Sun Herald photojournalist, contributed to this report.

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