A Bay St. Louis man was arrested Sunday for allegedly stealing a car that belonged to the mother of a double homicide victim.
Myrick Laneaux, 26, was arrested on a charge of taking possession of a motor vehicle and jailed in Hancock County without bond, according to Bay St. Louis Police Chief Michael Denardo. The homicide investigation, however, was continuing to determine whether Laneaux was connected to the crimes, he said.
The investigation began Saturday night when Bay St. Louis police found 28-year-old Kristina Quintini, a former dance team captain with the Southern Miss Dixie Darlings and a graduate of Bay St. Louis, and her boyfriend, Norris Demetrius Mueller, 29, dead. Mueller also attended Bay High.
Denardo said Laneaux is accused of stealing Mueller’s mother’s car. Laneaux is a convicted felon with prior convictions on drug and larceny charges.
Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said autopsies are pending on both homicide victims Monday in Jackson.
Quintini’s 6-month-old daughter also suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder, authorities said. She is undergoing treatment at a New Orleans hospital. A fund has been set up to help Quintini's family with expenses.
Though Mueller was described as Quintini’s boyfriend, a friend said she posted on Facebook about being single at 12:58 a.m. Wednesday.
In fact, Quintini posted a quotation about being single and wrote: “Finally... Yahoo...! It’s been a long time coming!!”
‘She was loved so much’
Quintini is a 2006 graduate of Bay High School, where she was a member of the Bay High Steppers dance team. She later attended Mississippi Gulf Community College and Southern Mississippi, where she majored in sports management.
Leighanne Lockhart Rouse was a team captain with Quintini on the Southern Miss dance team.
“Kristina was a rare beauty,” Rouse said. “I met her on Dixie Darlings at USM and we became captains together in 2010 along with Lee Armstrong and Megan Tanner.
“The memories we shared with Kristina leading the team include lots of late nights, sweat, tears, and tears from endless laughter. She was an incredible leader and so many looked up to her.
“Kristina set an amazing example for others both in her hard work and her character,” Rouse said. “She was loved so much by all who were blessed to know her. Her smile and personality was all you needed some days to instantly put you at ease. This is a devastating loss for everyone who knew her even briefly. She left an impact at USM and contributed greatly to the iconic reputation of the Dixie Darling legacy."
Another of Quintini’s friends and former Dixie Darlings team captains, Jessica Matthews, remembered her Sunday as a “phenomenal human being.”
“She always had a smile on her face, and she put everyone around her in a better mood,” Matthews said. “She loved to goof off, but she was dependable and respected by everyone.”
Whitney Roberts and she and Quintini instantly clicked when they met at Southern.
“She was a major factor in why I enjoyed my college experience so much.” Roberts said. “We hung out every day back then. We would spend our time either at dance practice or riding around, jamming out to our favorite songs and lip syncing them like we were performing a concert for the other cars.”
“I'm going to miss her infectious laugh so much,” Roberts said. “I'll always cherish the memories I've had with her.”
In one of Quintini’s blog posts during her college years, she wrote about how she hoped to be a publicist for the NFL one day.
Tracy Smith, director of the USM Dixie Darlings, remembers Kristina’s “bright smile and infectious laugh” the most.
“She was a talented dancer who was beautiful inside and out. I remember teammates asking her for guidance on issues dealing with college life. She was always willing to work hard and jump in to help others reach their goals as well,” Smith said. “She was a joy to teach and will be greatly missed.”
A criminal past
Mueller, however, has had run-ins with law enforcement.
In November 2010, Hancock County investigators arrested Mueller on an aggravated assault charge. The arrest came after investigators responded to a shooting at the victim’s home on Acker Street off Mississippi 43 in the Catahoula community.
According to investigators at the time, the shooting happened after the victim heard a loud knock on his door, opened it and Mueller allegedly opened fire, striking the victim six times. It’s unclear whether Mueller, then a resident of the Catahoula community, was ever prosecuted for the charge.
Also, the Harrison County jail docket shows Gulfport police arrested Mueller in January 2014 on a misdemeanor charge of contempt of court. He was in custody at the jail at the same time on a charge of misdemeanor simple assault.
In November 2013, he was booked in the Harrison County jail to serve time on a charge of misdemeanor simple assault related to an April 2011 incident, the docket shows.
In addition, Bay St. Louis police arrested Mueller in May 2015 on charges of contempt of court and resisting arrest
A missing person?
Police Chief Mike DeNardo said police received a report around 6 p.m. Saturday about a possible missing person at 802 Louis Piernas Road in the Bay Pines subdivision. When police officers went to investigate, he said, they found Quintini and Mueller dead and the baby suffering from a gunshot wound.
The child was taken from the scene to Memorial Hospital at Gulfport but was later transferred to Children’s Hospital in New Orleans for further treatment.
A motive for the crime is under investigation.
Authorities obtained warrants to search the home where the killings occurred.
The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Crime Scene Unit is conducting a forensic inspection of the crime scene as part of the ongoing probe. Waveland police are also assisting in the investigation.
Check back with sunherald.com for updates to this story.
Sun Herald web producer Justin Mitchell contributed to this report.