Death Of Tunica County K-9 Deputy Investigated

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Tunica County, MS) A K-9 deputy is dead and we're told it's the second one that's died in the same human deputies care.

Neither K-9 death was in the line of duty, leaving a lot of questions about how not one, but two police dogs have died in the past 16 months.

Monday, no one answered the door at the home of Tunica County Deputy Columbus Jones.

His neighbors say there were a lot of officers at his house last week after his K-9 partner "Bester" died.

A spokesperson with the Tunica County Sheriff's Office would only say they are investigating  a "deputy" but would not say if it's Jones or exactly how the dog died.

Barbara Willis lives next door to Jones and remembers seeing the dog, "Maybe a German Shepherd, I'm not for sure. I used to see it in the back yard, but I didn't see the dog Thursday."

Willis says Deputy Jones would usually park his K-9 truck next to his house.

She saw him come home Thursday morning around 11:30, "And about four thirty or four o'clock my daughter had locked her keys in her car. And she, they,  went over there knocking at the door, but he never would come to the door."

Willis says about thirty minutes later, she saw Jones leave his house,

"He was in a real big hurry. And so I found out a couple of days later that the dog had died."

Willis recalls it was hot last Thursday and she wonders if the deputy forgot the dog in the truck,

"It's sad. Because a dog like that, you treat it as a child gettin' left in a vehicle cause of the heat."

In 2011, Jones was placed on administrative leave after his K-9 partner "Atticus" escaped from his yard and was shot to death by a neighbor who said "Atticus" attacked his pet dog.

Barbara Willis says she's shocked by what happened Thursday and feels sorry for "Bester," "Those dogs are very expensive for somebody to be that careless with a dog like that."

A necropsy will determine exactly how "Bester" died.

Larry Liddell, PIO with the Tunica County Sheriff's Office, says until the investigation is complete it's unclear what disciplinary action will be taken.