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home : news : news October 20, 2014


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2/19/2014 6:00:00 AM
State officials still awaiting autopsy report
By DEBBIE BURT MYERS
Managing Editor

State authorities are still awaiting autopsy and toxicology results in the death of a Philadelphia man whose body was found in a Leake County slough Feb. 7, nine days after he fled sheriff's deputies there on a bitterly cold night.

The man, Cortez Aliandiae Coburn, 28, of 28 Central Ave., was last seen by his family on Jan. 28. He was reported missing to the Philadelphia Police Department on Feb. 1. Investigators, finally on Feb. 3 after chasing many bad leads, learned Coburn had been questioned by Leake County deputies days earlier and fled.

In the early morning of Jan. 29, two Leake County Sheriff's deputies were parked at the Edinburg One Stop waiting for employees to enter the store when they received a report of a suspicious vehicle at nearby Eagle Park on Mars Hill Road, which connects Mississippi 16 and Mississippi 25.

The report, at 3:16 a.m., said the vehicle was occupied.

Officers found Coburn parked in a gold Chevrolet Caprice. He told the deputies that he'd run out of gas.

One of the deputies smelled an odor of burnt marijuana coming from inside the vehicle and began questioning Coburn, the incident report said.

Coburn told the deputies there was a can of beer in the vehicle and an unloaded pistol in the glove compartment.

The deputy then patted down Coburn for weapons and found a marijuana grinder in the right rear pocket of his coveralls, the incident report said.

The deputy also found a partial marijuana cigarette on the driver's side floor board of the vehicle. A .25 caliber pistol was also found.

Authorities conducted a routine records check and found outstanding misdemeanor warrants for his arrest.

When the deputies asked Coburn about the warrants, he fled on foot across Mars Hill Road and into the woods.

The deputies gave chase unsuccessfully, the incident report said. After the brief chase, one circled back to the patrol cars and called for a wrecker to tow Coburn's vehicle.

The low that night was 9 degrees.

At some point, a third deputy responded.

Affidavits were filed against Coburn charging him with resisting arrest, possession of beer and possession of paraphernalia.

Coburn's body was spotted from the air Feb. 7 not far from where he fled.

Leake County Sheriff Greg Waggoner said the body was found about a quarter mile off Mars Hill Road with the help of a National Guard helicopter.

"Beavers had cut down a lot of bushes and there was just a little pool of water there," Waggoner said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was brought in because of multi-jurisdictional issues involved in the case, officials said.

MBI Spokesperson Warren Strain said it's not the agency's policy to review law enforcement procedures.

"We don't get involved in their policies," he said.

It's strictly a cause of death investigation, he said.

"It is still under investigation," Strain said on Tuesday.

Services for Coburn were held Saturday from Center Hill Church of God in Christ in Louisville. Burial was in the church cemetery.

Friends said Coburn was a good guy who never got into a lot of trouble.

"He had a sweet spirit and a nice attitude," one said. "He was always smiling. He always greeted me with a hug. He was just a nice respectful person."

Police investigators contacted Coburn's place of employment and his neighbors and worked several leads into his possible whereabouts. The Neshoba County Sheriff's department also assisted in following up on leads in Neshoba County, Myers said.

Coburn was from Louisville. He was a 2004 graduate of Louisville High School. He attended East Central Community College. He was employed at Tyson Foods.

Coburn is survived by his mother, Nanette Coburn; his father, Tommy Lee Yarbrough; seven sisters and two brothers.



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