Preliminary autopsy results released in death of Covington County man

Preliminary autopsy results released in death of Covington County man
An accident took the life of a Laurel man. Source: Raycom News Network

COVINGTON COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A weekend altercation in Covington County left one man dead and authorities searching for answers.

Chris Tisdale, 47, of Seminary was pronounced dead at Forrest General Hospital Saturday night after he was involved in an altercation at the Okatoma Outdoor Post.

"Right now we don't know the exact cause of death, but the body has been sent to the State Crime Lab in Jackson for an autopsy," said Covington County Sheriff Stann Smith.

According to Smith, the preliminary autopsy showed that the cause of death was a heart attack. Smith said the full autopsy is not complete, and the investigation is still ongoing.

According to Smith, an altercation started around 6:30 p.m. in the bathroom at the Okatoma Outdoor Post, located at 550 Walter Lott Road.

"The altercation was between a few workers, including Chris, who works there and a group of folks from Louisiana," said Smith. "Chris and others went to basically defuse the situation and that's when it continued to escalate and then continued outside."

Smith said that alcohol was a factor in the group of people from Louisiana that allegedly started the altercation.

"We were told by folks at the hospital that he was hit and that it crushed his larynx, but we aren't sure if that was the cause of death, that's something the autopsy will show," said Smith. "We questioned roughly 20 people, with 15 to 16 being from the group of Louisiana, but no one said they actually saw him throw a punch to hit Chris."

Smith said they detained three from the group, separated them, and questioned them individually.

"We think we know the one that actually did it, but right now, the evidence just isn't there to make a charge, we have to wait on the autopsy," said Smith.

Smith added that Chris was allegedly hitting one of the men involved with a can of mace in the back of the head, in efforts to break up the altercation.

"We don't know that the man hit him intentionally, or what actually transpired but it just happened and they told us Chris fell to the ground," said Smith. "Right now we just can't charge anyone because all we have is multiple stories and no physical evidence to go off of."

Smith said they did interview a juvenile, and he was able to give some additional information in the case, but that portion is still ongoing.

The name of the three men that were questioned are not being released, because none of them were charged.

"The case will be presented to the grand jury, and once we get the autopsy we will know more as well," said Smith. "If anyone saw anything, or knows any details, please give us a call because anything will or can help."

Call the Covington County Sheriff's Department at 601-765- 8281 ext 3 with any information pertaining to the case.