Local woman dies in hostage crisis

A hostage situation on Highway 178 East ended tragically early Saturday morning, Union County Sheriff Tommy Wilhite said.

Kim Cox, 40, was found dead after authorities raided a home located at 2214 HWY 178 E. near Sherman around 3:30 a.m.

According to Wilhite, Cox died as the result of gunshot wounds caused by her husband David Neal Cox, Sr., 39, of Pontotoc.  He said the weapon used was a .40 caliber pistol.

The law enforcement raid ended a nearly nine hour hostage situation in which, Cox, Sr. was holding  his wife, whom he had been separated from, as well as his son and step-daughter hostage.

“It’s not the outcome we wanted,” said Wilhite.  “But it’s not as bad as we had feared.  We were afraid he was going to shoot the two children as well.”

Wilhite said that the sheriff’s department had received calls at approximately 7 p.m. Friday evening from neighbors saying that they had heard shots fired.  He said that Sherman police responded to the call because of their proximity to the residence.

“When they arrived, they found a victim running down road who said that one had been shot inside the trailer and that several shots had been fired,” Wilhite said.  “Our officers arrived and found that he had barricaded himself [and the woman and children] in the house.”

Several local law enforcement agencies were asked to aid with the situation, including New Albany, Union County and Tupelo SWAT teams, Sherman police and Mississippi Highway Patrol. 

Wilhite said that hostage negotiators from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation as well as Tupelo police department were able to establish communications with Cox, Sr.

“We talked to him and we also talked to the wife for a while,” Wilhite said.  “We talked to her until midnight.”

Negotiators lost communication with the subject at approximately 2 a.m. when the batteries in the cell phone he was using had died.  At 3:23 a.m., Wilhite said, SWAT teams entered the residence and found Kim Cox’s body and were able to rescue the two children.

As to the reason Cox, Sr. came to the residence and shot his wife, Wilhite would not speculate.

“We don’t know at this point,” Wilhite said.  “He had recently been released from Pontotoc County Jail.”

He said that Cox, Sr. will likely be charged with one count of capital murder, three counts of kidnapping and one count of either sexual battery or statutory rape.