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Charges upgraded after Jackson County woman dies following domestic violence attack

Nina Cumbest was 27 years old and leaves behind an eight-year-old daughter.
Nina Cumbest died six months after police say she was run over by an ex-boyfriend in Gautier.
Nina Cumbest died six months after police say she was run over by an ex-boyfriend in Gautier.(Cumbest family)
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 10:18 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 5, 2021 at 9:10 AM CDT
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GAUTIER, Miss. (WLOX) - Charges have been upgraded in the case of a Jackson County woman who died this week six months after police say she was attacked by her ex-boyfriend.

Terrance McNaughton is now charged with second-degree murder in the death of 27-year-old Nina Cumbest.

Cumbest died Tuesday, six months after police say she was run over by McNaughton. According to family members, McNaughton and Cumbest were in a relationship that had ended prior to the attack, which happened in early May.

The attack in May left Cumbest in a coma and a vegetative state for months.

Nina Cumbest died six months after police say she was run over by an ex-boyfriend in Gautier.
Nina Cumbest died six months after police say she was run over by an ex-boyfriend in Gautier.(Cumbest family)

Just weeks before the 27-year-old mother was attacked, photos on Facebook show her with a black eye. Her family says that injury was also inflicted by McNaughton after he allegedly ran Nina off the road while she was driving, then beat her through the window of her car. Authorities confirm that McNaughton was arrested and charged with simple assault domestic violence for the April 24 attack.

Terrance McNaughton has been arrested at least three times in connection to domestic violence...
Terrance McNaughton has been arrested at least three times in connection to domestic violence incidents against Nina Cumbest. Cumbest died Nov. 2 six months after authorities say McNaughton ran her over with his truck, leaving her in a coma.(Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.)

Months before in October, McNaughton was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault for another domestic violence incident involving Nina, according to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

After the May 6 attack, he was arrested a third time and charged with felony aggravated assault again. On May 20, those charges were upgraded to attempted murder. On Nov. 4, authorities upgraded the charge to second-degree murder, which carries a possible sentence of life in prison.

Nina Cumbest died six months after police say she was run over by an ex-boyfriend in Gautier.
Nina Cumbest died six months after police say she was run over by an ex-boyfriend in Gautier.(Cumbest family)

Nina’s family and her community rallied around her in the weeks following the attack, raising money for her care and for the continued support of her eight-year-old daughter.

One of the ways is through the formation of Nina’s Voice, an organization started to seek justice for Cumbest while also raising awareness about domestic violence and helping victims who have been abused by a partner.

Funeral services for Nina Cumbest will be held at Southern Mississippi Funeral Service, located at 6631 Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs, on Tuesday, Nov. 9. Visitation will be 4-5pm for family and from 5-7pm for friends. The service will begin at 7pm.

There have been multiple reports in recent months of women left injured or dead following a domestic incident. In June, just one month after Nina’s attack, Keli Mornay and her infant son Brixx were the victims of a murder-suicide, said police.

In July, a man was arrested for a domestic-related shooting in Gulfport after police said he went to the female victim’s house after an argument, shot her, then shot another man who was there.

In September, a St. Martin woman survived after authorities say her estranged husband forced his way into her home and shot her.

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In the U.S., intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, an average of nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner.

One in four women and one in seven men have been been victims of severe physical violence at the hands of their partner. 72% of all murder-suicides involve an intimate partner. In those cases, women are the victims 94% of the time.

Last year, Gulfport Police reported responding to 986 domestic calls; Biloxi Police responded to 1,842.

In September, Stacey Riley at the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence talked with WLOX and explained why it is so important that anyone experiencing domestic violence make a plan to leave.

“Make out a well-thought out plan. Sit down with one of our advocates, counselors or someone else that is a close person that understands domestic violence and make out a very well-thought out plan of action. And the first thing that has to be on that is safety,” said Riley. “There needs to be a safe place to go to. If you don’t have a safe friend or family that he or she does not know about, then the shelter is an option for you. Or there are other options of leaving the area and going to another state, if you have the resources to do that. We have the ability to assist people with that.”

If you are in an abusive relationship or have experienced domestic partner abuse, call the Gulf Coast Center for Non Violence at (228) 436-3809 or visit their website.

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