Crime

Who killed Kimberly Watts? Harrison County takes over cold case

A family photograph shows Kimberly Watts posing under a live oak on the Coast. Watts was killed at her home on November 14, 2014. Her murder is still unsolved.
A family photograph shows Kimberly Watts posing under a live oak on the Coast. Watts was killed at her home on November 14, 2014. Her murder is still unsolved. Sun Herald File

Kimberly Watts died almost three years ago, killed in her home on Woodcrest Drive in Long Beach on November 14, 2014.

Long Beach Police investigated. A $10,000 reward was offered.

Tips came in. Still, no arrest was made.

Now, the investigation has been handed over to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department.

New Long Beach mayor George Bass doesn’t want a conflict of interest in the open investigation because of his relation to Watts, who was his sister-in-law.

He spoke to District Attorney Joel Smith after winning the election and asked him to move the case out of Long Beach. Smith agreed, saying the sheriff’s office has cold case detectives and other people who could work on the case.

Smith talked with Long Beach Police Chief Wayne McDowell and Sheriff Troy Peterson to have the case moved.

“I told him it was my desire to have the case moved out of Long Beach before I was sworn in,” Bass said.

Watts was a Gulfport High graduate who had completed a nursing degree at Southern Miss and worked in the cardiology department at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, was divorced with a teenage son who had just left home for his freshman year at Ole Miss. With her son, Trevor, gone to school, she lived alone at her home on Woodcrest.

The last time anyone saw Watts alive, she had left work at Memorial and gone to her mother’s house to bring her a salad, then was headed home herself.

She apparently died that night. Investigators wouldn’t say how and they don’t know why.

When Watts didn’t show up for work the next day, co-workers tried to reach her. They contacted her sister and fellow nurse, Sherry Bass, to see if she had spoken to Watts.

Bass called her husband, now the Long Beach mayor, to go to Watts’ home and check on her.

He found her body in the house. Police told him not to discuss details about what he found.

Long Beach police said a year after Watts’ death that without someone coming forward with information to corroborate evidence, it would be difficult to solve the case.

Bass is hoping with new investigators, something will come to light to solve the case.

Staff writer Robin Fitzgerald contributed to this report.

Kate Magandy: 228-896-2344, @kmagandy

  Comments