Diamondhead man found rolled in carpet was shot several times, chief deputy says

Philip Whitaker
Philip Whitaker

Hancock County investigators want to hear from anyone with information about a maroon Toyota minivan driven by a Diamondhead man who disappeared Nov. 8 and was found dead in New Orleans last week.

Philip Sherman Whitaker, 54, died of a gunshot wound and was found rolled in a piece of carpet Wednesday near Michoud Boulevard and Interstate 10, Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office spokesman Jason Melancon said Monday.

Hancock County investigators released a picture of the vehicle Monday, asking for the public’s help to figure out what happened to Philip Whitaker from the time he went missing.

Whitaker had last been seen picking up a prescription at Love’s Pharmacy. Investigators are trying to come up with a timeline of what happened after that, Chief Deputy Don Bass said.

The remains were found near the Michoud Boulevard on-ramp to Interstate 10. Bass said Whitaker was shot several times.

“We felt like it was Mr. Whitaker even though the body was decomposing,” Bass said.

The man found dead in New Orleans had Whitaker’s identification card and wore clothes that matched what Whitaker was wearing, he said.

New Orleans police have sent evidence from the recovery scene to a crime lab, Bass said. Tests could help determine if Whitaker was killed in Hancock County or New Orleans, he said.

A possible motive is unclear.

Anyone with information about the minivan or who remembers seeing Whitaker is asked to call the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department at 228-466-6900 or Central Dispatch at 228-255-9191.

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews