In the early evening of June 28, 2019, Jones County Sheriff’s Deputies and Investigators responded to a call of a possible body lying on the Tucker’s Crossing bridge (which is closed), just outside the city limits of Ellisville. The investigation into the suspicious death continued through the night and following day. Investigators poured through surveillance footage from nearby cameras, showing nothing of the actual incident, and collected other evidence.
On Sunday, June 30, 2019 as investigators were steadily following leads and conducting interviews, the victim’s vehicle was spotted in the Laurel city limits. A pursuit ensued with the assistance of the Laurel Police Department. After a brief pursuit the vehicle came to a stop and the driver, Stephen McLaurin, 53 of Ellisville, was identified. McLaurin was taken into custody and charged with Felony Fleeing and Felony Taking of a Motor Vehicle.
During the interview McLaurin said he was a friend of the victim. He went on to confess that on the morning of the incident the two were “alligator hunting” off the Tucker’s Crossing Bridge. A few shots had been fired by both of them off of the bridge. McLaurin’s gun jammed and when he was trying to dislodge the gun, it accidentally fired, striking the victim. McLaurin said he panicked and fled the scene in the victim’s vehicle. He admitted he never attempted to call 911. He also admitted to panicking once again when he fled from law enforcement a couple of days later.
An additional charge of Murder in the Second Degree (murder that is not premeditated) has been added to McLaurin’s charges.
McLaurin will make his initial appearance at Jones County Justice Court on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at 1pm.
The Jones County Sheriff’s Office thanks the Ellisville and Laurel Police Departments for their assistance with this case.