JACKSON COUNTY -- A man was found dead lying on a dirt road in a subdivision east of St. Andrews on Tuesday morning.
Deputies are investigating it as a homicide.
Investigators did not release details about the killing, not even the way he was killed. But they suspect the van has something to do with it.
"He bought it yesterday, and it's not with him," said Capt. Chris Stratton.
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Early in the investigation, the sheriff said, it did not appear the man was hit by a vehicle.
Deputy Chuck Fowler found the body while on patrol and other deputies went door-to-door in the neighborhood Tuesday morning, interviewing people to see if they heard or saw anything.
Fowler found the body between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Tuesday, and the sheriff's department immediately sent information about the death to surrounding law enforcement agencies to check missing-person reports.
The dead man is black and in his late 20s or early 30s, Sheriff Mike Ezell said Tuesday morning. He was wearing a checked or plaid short-sleeved shirt and large jeans shorts.
The road where he was found is unpaved with no houses on it. It connects two residential streets -- Cook Street and Davis Street -- and is toward the end of both roads.
"We've got some very basic information now but hope to know more soon," Ezell said Tuesday morning, standing a block from the scene, which was cordoned off with crime scene tape.
Seven to eight crime scene investigators were on scene all morning and into the afternoon, joined around noon by Biloxi police with digital crime scene capabilities, and later, Gautier police.
Joni Tanner, who lives on Davis, said the area has a strong Neighborhood Watch program.
She said she left work around 3 a.m. Tuesday morning and saw a mini-van she wasn't used to seeing in the area. The subdivision is Ocean Beach Estates, rural Jackson County east of the St. Andrews subdivision.
She said the dirt road area of her neighborhood has always "creeped" her out.
"It's not paved, and I've seen people there that aren't with the neighbourhood," Tanner said.
Two streets over, a woman said she was interviewed by deputies Tuesday morning. Her husband and another neighbor closer to the dirt road said they heard shots, and dogs barking in reaction, between 5 and 7 p.m. Monday night. But she said this is a rural area where people fire guns, and they didn't think anything of it at the time.
From 9 p.m. on, it was quiet, she said.