By WLBT Digital | December 31, 2019 at 6:52 PM CST – Updated December 31 at 7:52 PM
The Story: In January, Erica Hall’s body was found drenched in blood in the front yard of her home. According to her family, she died in the hands of her own children. Hall’s injuries consisted of multiple stab wounds to her upper torso and back and a gunshot wound to the chest. The family says the mother was home alone with her two girls when an argument occurred. Fourteen-year-old Amariyona Hall was charged as an adult with her mother’s murder.
The Story: Ally Kostial was last seen alive on a July Friday night in the Oxford Square. The next morning, the 21-year-old Ole Miss student’s body was found at a fishing camp in Lafayette County. She had been shot eight times. Through an investigation, 22-year-old Brandon Theesefeld of Texas would be charged with her murder. Friends say the two had known each other for years and that their relationship was ‘complicated.’ An indictment says that Theesfeld kidnapped Kostial and later shot her. The two were captured on surveillance video together hours before she would be found dead. He has pleaded ‘not guilty.’
The Story: In the early morning hours of a Saturday in February, a highly active domestic hostage situation took place in a Clinton neighborhood. After 12 hours of negotiations, SWAT team members entered the home where they would find four deceased hostages: Lan Thi My Van, Le Thi My Van, Cho Thi Van and Phung Minh Le. They were identified as the suspect’s wife, sister-in-law, sister-in-law’s friend and a babysitter/family friend. The suspect was taken out of the home and taken to a hospital where he would die due to injuries sustained during the standoff.
The Story: After a tough race against Democratic candidate Jim Hood, Republican and former lieutenant governor Tate Reeves came out victorious with 52 percent of the vote. It would become the hardest-fought Mississippi’s governor’s race since 2003. Reeves beat our fellow republicans Bill Waller, Jr., who was a former Mississippi Supreme Court judge, and congressman Robert Foster to secure the Republican nomination. Jim Hood will wrap up his fourth and final term as the state Attorney General after 16 years in office. Governor-elect Tate Reeves will be sworn into office and become the 65th governor of Mississippi on January 14, 2020.
The Story: In August, seven work sites across Mississippi were raided in what would become the largest single-site workforce operation in U.S. history. As a result, 680 people were detained by Homeland Security and ICE agents. The locations included Peco facilities in Canton, Bay Springs and Sebastopol. The story would garner national attention and 2016 presidential candidate Beto O’ Rouke planned a visit to Canton to see families impacted by the raids. Nearly 300 of those detained were released and taken back to their place of work.
The Story: During a standoff in Madison County in September, Deputy Brad Sullivan suffered an injury which would cause him to fight for his life. “This is another example of the tragedy officers face every day. We covet your prayers,” the Director of Mississippi Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support said at the time. But against all odds, Brad Sullivan slowly recovered from his injuries. In December, three months after suffering that life-threatening injury, Deputy Sullivan was released from the hospital.
The Story: On October 26, 2019, FOX 40 new’s anchor Mike Sands ended his long fight with cancer. For several years, Mike had been battling the aggressive disease which began in his calf and slowly began to spread. Early in 2019, he made the decision to go home to his native Pennsylvania to continue battling the cancer with his family by his side. Mike would pass away on a Saturday, surrounded by the same friends and family who fought alongside him. His rallying cry of “You Fight, We fight” inspired many, and became a worldwide trending topic on social media. Mike leaves behind one daughter.
The Story: Through the first part of 2019, many in the Delta battled historic backwater flooding, which caused massive devastation and left many homeless. At one point, over 500,000 acres of land were submerged in the flood. Along with the 222 homes that were destroyed, 482 others were damaged. In September, a sigh of relief was felt as President Trump declared 8 Mississippi counties as federal disaster areas. The average claim an individual could expect was somewhere between $2,500 and $4,000 thousand dollars.
The Story: As Pastor Anthony Finch Longino was opening the doors to his church on the Sunday morning of January 13th, he was gunned down and killed. The suspects then robbed him and stole from his truck. Police found Longino’s body outside of New Bethany Church. Four suspects were eventually arrested in connection with his murder. His family released a statement after his death, saying in part: His legacy: loving his family, loving people, serving his community by being a light to lead others to Christ.
The Story: According to a report by the CDC, Mississippi had the highest number cases of gonorrhea and the third highest of chlamydia and syphilis for the year 2019. This as three sexually transmitted diseases are at all time high nationwide: syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. “I don’t think we need to wait on the nation to come up with a national solution,” said My Brother’s Keeper Director Deja Abdul-Haqq. “I believe, in the state of Mississippi, we have a situation that’s of epidemic proportion.”
*Disclaimer: These stories are not listed in any particular order and are not necessarily the ‘most clicked’ stories of the year.
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