A 66-year-old woman in Mississippi has been arrested in connection with the death of her son, who was found dead inside a wooden box behind a false wall weeks after he was reported as a possible missing person, according to authorities.
Around 5:45 p.m. on Dec. 22, 2023, officers responded to a residence in reference to a welfare check for a possible missing person, 42-year-old John Allen Gaither, according to the Gulfport Police Department.
Detectives conducted several follow-ups and on Dec. 27, 2023, they noted discrepancies in statements provided by Gaither’s mother, Jerri Lynn Isreal, officials said.
Police claim she also started to become “increasingly uncooperative and changed her statements multiple times.”
During the investigation, detectives learned that Isreal had been convicted of killing a woman in Florida in 1995 and driving around with her body in the trunk of her car for several days before she dumped it in Indian River County, officials said.
After learning those details, detectives obtained a search warrant for Isreal’s residence.
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Around 10 a.m. on Jan. 18, authorities conducted a search of the residence. While there, Israel reportedly took an “unsafe amount of pills” and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Authorities continued the search of the home and found a wooden box containing a deceased person, later identified as Gathier, behind a false wall.
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Israel was taken to the Harrison County Adult Detention Center and charged with murder, officials said.
She is being held without bond.
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