The 29-year-old son of slain Stone County woman Sherry Johnson is suspected of killing her, and how she died will be explained after an autopsy is finished, Sheriff's Capt. Ray Boggs said.
Sherry Johnson was decapitated, Stone County Coroner Wayne Flurry said.
Deputies had Terrelle Johnson custody Friday on a first-degree murder charge. He is held with no bond.
A torso and head were lying 15 feet apart in the backyard of Sherry Johnson's home on Johnson Road near Wiggins, Flurry said. The torso has been identified as hers, but DNA tests are needed to match the head to her body for legal purposes, he said.
Sherry Johnson was a guidance counselor at Hattiesburg High School. Her son lived with her.
Deputies found her dead near Wiggins early Wednesday evening. They had received a call asking for a deputy to check on her, Boggs said.
Those who knew Sherry Johnson considered her sweet, quiet and as having a "can-do" attitude, Hattiesburg Principal Eric K. Boney said.
"She was always looking to find solutions where there was a problem," Boney said.
"Ms. Johnson was devoted to working above and beyond to help students, even during their most difficult times. She always had the students' best interest at heart."
Johnson had worked at Hattiesburg High since 2014. Boney tweeted a request for prayers for the high school family on the school's Twitter account.
Boggs said he will release no details on Johnson's injuries until the full autopsy is completed, which could be Monday.
The county coroner said Sherry Johnson suffered traumatic and lethal wounds and had probably been dead two or three days.