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Tragic Find in South Mississippi Leads to Double Homicide Charges

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The boy's remains were found in a very rural area in south Mississippi, close to the county line between Jackson and George counties. Investigators had searched along Highway 57 in days past, but because of its rural area, thick brush and the amount of time that had lapsed, it wasn't until the boy's father provided detailed information on where to find his son that law enforcement was able to hone in on any one location. It is not yet known who the attorney is who will represent DeBlase or his girlfriend. It is possible, and many who live in the area say it's likely, that the death penalty will be sought in Alabama, where he faces charges.

Jackson County law enforcement worked with Mobile County, AL law enforcement during the search. Following Sheriff Mike Byrd's announcement that they had found the remains believed to be Chase, Alabama charged John DeBlase with two counts of homicide. He was already in jail pending charges for abuse of a corpse. DeBlase's girlfriend is expected to be transferred from a Kentucky jail to Mobile on Saturday.


When asked if there were difficulties finding the location, despite DeBlase's detailed description, Sheriff Byrd said it's not uncommon for the brush and growth to still be growing, even in December. Searchers held out little hope of finding anything due to the animals found in this area of the country, including coyotes, foxes and wild hogs.

A search continues in south Alabama for Chase's sister, Natalie. DeBlase has said he left her remains in a very specific, and rural, area near Mobile.

Court documents were released to the media late on Wednesday that painted a tragic picture of what the lives of these two children were like. Among other abuses, the document revealed DeBlase routinely and willfully ''maltreated the child by allowing Heather Leavell-Keaton (his girlfriend) to duct tape the child's hands to the side of his legs, tape a broom handle to his back, placing a sock in his mouth and then duct taping it and making the child stand in a corner all night when they went to bed, as defined in Section 13A-1-2, code of Alabama 1975 to wit: causing the death of Jonathan Chase DeBlase''.

Tonight, Highway 57, the two lane highway that runs north and south throughout the state, remains closed off between Vancleave, Miss and Lucedale, Miss. as investigators continue to comb the area for more evidence. Sheriff Byrd remains in his Pascagoula office as he fields questions from the media and occasionally glances at the photos that surround him of his own grandchildren.


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