Tate and Humphreyes cases might link to highway murders

By Daily Journal reports

TUPELO – Law enforcement officials are investigating whether a Wednesday incident in Humphreys County and an April 2 incident in Tate County might be linked to two murders that happened recently along north Mississippi highways.

According to Humphrey County Sheriff’s Department Investigator Cleveland Ross, a person impersonating a police officer attempted to pull over two vehicles on U.S. Highway 49 late Wednesday. One vehicle was going north, the other going south.

On Thursday, Ross confirmed the department had detained a black male from outside the area who was being with the assistance of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, which is the lead agency on the highway murder cases.

Ross would not say, however, whether the person in custody Thursday was the same individual attempting to stop vehicles the previous night.

Authorities also are investigating another incident that happened in Tate County on April 2. According to Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance, a female motorist driving south on I-55 reported being pulled over by a gold sedan that had clear, flashing lights.

It happened at about 2 p.m.

A white male approached her vehicle dressed in an untucked, plaid shirt with tan pants, Lance said. He appeared to be in his mid-40s.

“She refused to roll her window down,” he said. “She just cracked it. He told her she was speeding and asked for her driver’s license. She said her license was in her purse and her purse was in the trunk and she was not getting out.”

Lance said the woman then asked for the man’s identification and inquired why he wasn’t in uniform. He became agitated at that point and told her he was off duty.

Finally, he told her to just go.

The woman then filed a report on the incident, which now is being reviewed for any similarities to two highway killings that occurred this month in the same general area.

Thomas Schlender, 74, of Raymond, Neb., was found in his car on I-55 in Panola County on May 8 about 1:30 a.m. Three days later, Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando, was found near her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in nearby Tunica County about 2:15 a.m.

Authorities believe the suspect might have posed as a police officer to get the motorists to stop.

“There is no indication – certainly no evidence – that says or even suggests that what happened in our county on April 2 is in any way connected to the two fatal shootings,” Lance said, although he acknowledged authorities are looking into it just in case.

Motorists are encouraged to call 911 or *47 if they’re being pulled over by someone who might be posing as a police officer.