By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The initial suicide ruling on a local dentist’s death certificate was changed to say it is undecided if the death was a homicide or suicide.
Tracy Hodges’ death was ruled a suicide by the Tupelo Police Department after he was found dead from an apparent gunshot wound in his Sunflower Circle front yard in May.
Lee County Coroner Carolyn Green said she can only investigate the medical side of the death but after talking with the family and studying the factors of the death, she isn’t 100 percent sure it was a suicide.
“So many of the pieces of the puzzle don’t fit and when I sign a death certificate, I have to believe without a shadow of a doubt that it was a suicide,” Green said.
Green said one puzzle piece was that Hodges’ mother, Linda Hodges, found it odd the gun was reportedly in his left hand.
She said while he wrote and performed dental tasks with his left hand, he threw a ball, batted and shot with his right hand.
The cause of death on the death certificate was also changed from “self-inflicted gunshot wound to mouth,” to “gunshot wound to mouth.” The changes were made Sept. 28.
Tupelo Police Capt. Rusty Haynes said the TPD continues to consider the death a suicide.
Family and friends of Hodges have spoken out in the community and to law enforcement, asking that the case be reopened, but detectives maintain the investigation is thorough and there is no evidence to implicate anyone else.
“We don’t want to see anything that’s not investigated to the fullest extent and we told them if they had any piece of definitive and admissible evidence we would hear it,” Haynes said. “But the case is closed pending any irrefutable evidence that is admissible in a court of law.”
The police report states Hodges’ wife, Jessica Hodges, and her son Corbin, 4, were home with Tracy Hodges the night of his death.
His wife told police they discussed the possibility of a divorce and when he began threatening his life, she alerted authorities.
Police found Hodges dead in his front yard shortly after arriving at the home at 12:38 a.m., May 29.
Linda Hodges said she had planned to file a civil suit seeking answers in the case but has since changed her mind.