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Breaking News: Sheriff Updates on the Lafayette County Deaths

Location of 8 County Road 3011 within Lafayette County, according to Google Earth.
Location of 8 County Road 3011 within Lafayette County, according to Google Earth.

The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation have completed an investigation into the deaths of Melissa Smith and Jose Benitez at 8 County Road 3011 (located near Pine Flat Community) that occurred on Saturday, June 18.

According to the chief investigator, Alan Wilburn, they determined that the fatal altercation between Melissa Smith and Jose Benitez began as a verbal altercation outside the residence that escalated to an altercation with a weapon inside the residence.

Wilburn said, “Melissa appeared to have multiple stab wounds that came from Jose Benitez. Jose Benitez had a gunshot wound that came from Michael Smith. Michael is the husband of Melissa and also the owner of the residence.”

According to the chief investigator, the victim’s husband, Michael Smith, was asleep when the altercation began outside and awakened when it moved inside. He retrieved a high-power rifle and shot Jose Benitez and then called 911.

No charges were filed. The case will be presented to the Grand Jury of Lafayette County for their consideration on August 30, 2016.


Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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