Wendy Johnson and Harvey Vancleave had been living together in a small camper trailer in the Pearl River swamp outside of town for over a year, had talked about getting married and joining a church, according to their social media posts.

Their bodies were found last week at a scrap yard where the camper was parked on the edge of town. Johnson had been strangled to death and Vancleave’s body was found the next morning hanging in a tree in the woods behind the camper.

Johnson, 41, 11520 Highway 418 Union, a white female, was found after the property owner where the camper was parked called the authorities saying he hadn’t seen the couple, Neshoba County Sheriff Tommy Waddell said.

She was found in the camper at Canal Scrap located west of the Highway 15 bypass and the city limits where Beacon Street intersects the four-lane.

Last Wednesday morning, Vancleave, a white male, was discovered hanging in a tree about 40-50 yards behind the camper, Waddell said. 

Vancleave, 53, an Itta Bena native, lived at 1729 Highway 15 south, the camper site where the woman was found.

The couple had been living together in the camper for about a year and the proper owner had not seen them and went to check and found her strangled to death, Waddell said.She had been dead several days, according to the Sheriff.

He could not say whether the hanging was self-inflicted but an autopsy is underway. He could give no motive and would only say the case is still “under investigation.”

“It was dark and difficult to see last night (last Tuesday), but when we returned for another search the following morning we found the man a short distance away from the trailer,” Waddell said.



Waddell, who was at the state Crime Lab in Jackson around lunch last Wednesday and operating on little sleep, said that they believe the female to be the “companion” of the male they found. The deceased male owned the trailer, he said.

He said that they are not releasing any additional details at this time. Waddell could not elaborate on the circumstances of the deaths.

The scrap yard is nearly a mile into the swamp from the highway west of Canal Place Shopping Center. The authorities say it’s not unusual to be called to the area.

Vancleave’s Facebook page said he is a former line leader at Irvin Automotive Inc., in Greenwood and was currently self-employed. 

Johnson’s Facebook page said she works at Pearl River Resort and went to Neshoba Central High School.