Biloxi man arrested in his child’s disappearance

A Biloxi man faces a kidnapping charge for taking his 7-year-old son from his guardians’ home in Jackson County, sheriff’s officials said.

Billy Ray Gray III, 27, of Big Ridge Road in Biloxi does not have custody of his son, Jackson County sheriff’s Capt. Chris Stratton said.

“The grandparents are the guardians of the child, and he is allowed by them, not the court, to visit with the child,” Stratton said.

Gray had gone to visit his son Saturday in St. Martin while other family members were there and he left with his son before anyone realized the two were gone, Stratton said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which operates under the state Department of Public Safety, issued a statewide endangered/missing child alert. MBI reported Gray was last seen with the child about 3:30 p.m. Saturday as the two of them were walking in the 9000 block of Scott Street in Biloxi.

News of the alert was posted on Facebook, where someone who knows Gray saw it and told him to read the alert, Stratton said.

Gray turned himself in Saturday night at the Biloxi Police Department. The mother picked up the child and a deputy took Gray to the Jackson County jail on an arrest warrant.

Investigators learned the boy’s mother had let Gray watch the child while she went to the store, Sheriff Mike Ezell said in a news release. When the mother came home, Gray and her son were gone.

The mother told deputies a black suitcase was missing as well as her son’s book bag, some clothes, shoes and other items, Stratton said. She also said Gray has family in Pascagoula and Gulfport.

A neighbor saw Gray and the child walking down Masterson Street.

Biloxi police notified the Sheriff’s Office about 11 p.m. that Gray had surrendered.

Gray was booked at the county jail early Sunday.

He is held with no bond pending a court hearing.