Family Missing After Bizarre Call Found Dead
Bodies in abandoned house near burned car
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2013 9:34 AM CST
Updated Nov 5, 2013 1:17 PM CST

(Newser) – An entire family who went missing in Mississippi under strange circumstances has been found dead: Three bodies, believed to be those of of Atira Hughes Smith (also referred to as Atira Hill), 30; her husband Laterry Smith, 34; and her son, Jaidon Hill, 7, were found in an abandoned house this morning, WLBT reports. Hughes Smith's family says she told them Friday night, via a strange phone call, that she had to leave town for a few days and was already on the road; the call ended abruptly. On Saturday, police found the family's crashed car, upside down and on fire, but with no one inside, WJTV reports. The bodies were found about a mile from where the car crashed; someone had apparently set it on fire, KLTV notes. Timothy Burns, 42, was taken into custody in connection with the case, and he led investigators to the bodies.

Yesterday, police found Hughes Smith's wallet and ID and more of the family's belongings—including a woman's blouse and a T-shirt, with some of the clothes bloodstained—in a gas station dumpster. Police also searched a home near the gas station, where Laterry Smith's mom lives; a neighbor says the mother and Smith's sisters moved out Sunday. (KLTV's source says the occupants left "in a hurry.") Neighbors also say Laterry Smith attempted to run over his wife with a car at the house a few weeks ago. All three bodies found today were shot, the Clarion Ledger reports. Police do not believe the family was in their car when it crashed. It's not clear whether they knew Burns.

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