Police: Men lied about ‘free car’ sign to avoid being arrested for auto theft

(L-R) Jordan Thomsen, Joshua Hankins and Kelly King
(L-R) Jordan Thomsen, Joshua Hankins and Kelly King(Byram Police Dept.)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 4:52 PM CDT
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COPIAH COUNTY, Miss. (WLBT) - A major twist has been revealed in the investigation involving a man who was found dead in the back of a “free” car last weekend.

According to a press release from the Byram Police Department on Friday, there was never a “free car” sign on the car as was initially reported.

Police now say that the two persons of interest in the case fabricated seeing a visible “free car” sign in the vehicle’s windshield in order to avoid being arrested for auto theft.

The investigation has now led to the arrest of three individuals:

  • Joshua Hankins, 21, of Byram is charged with auto theft, tampering with evidence, and possession of a controlled substance with a firearm
  • Kelly King, 21, of Pearl is charged with possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, hindering prosecution/rendering criminal assistance
  • Jordan Thomsen, 24, of Clinton is charged with auto theft and tampering with physical evidence

In the original story, two men drove Anthony McCrillis’ vehicle from Byram to Copiah County because it was “free” and had the keys still inside.

The men would allegedly look inside the back of the vehicle to discover McCrillis’ lifeless body only after arriving at a family member’s home.

Coroner Ellis Stuart said McCrillis, whose family described as a “kind and gentle soul,” appeared to have been in the vehicle for a number of days.

Anthony McCrillis
Anthony McCrillis(WLBT)

Police have not yet determined where the original crime took place, but that McCrillis was alive at 9 p.m. Friday evening.

Byram Police Chief David Errington said that there were no signs of obvious trauma to McCrillis’ body.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is assisting the Byram Police Department and law inforecement is awaiting McCrillis’ autopsy report.

An online fundraiser for McCrillis’ funeral expenses states that he had recently finished a rehabilitation program in Arkansas and had moved back to Mississippi over Labor Day weekend to be near family.

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