TYLERTOWN - A Jayess woman missing since the weekend was found dead Thursday morning in a freezer in her home, and her live-in boyfriend has been taken into custody, officials said Friday.
Walthall County Coroner Shannon Hartzog said Darlene Berthelot, 52, appeared to be dead of what could have been a shotgun blast after being missing for at least a few days.
"She hadn't been seen since the weekend," he said.
Robert Wayne Silvia, 56, is currently being held at the Walthall County Jail, and officials said he could be charged with murder at some point Friday.
"He has not been formally charged, but he is in custody, and we're still investigating and talking to different people before any charges are filed," said Walthall County Sheriff Duane Dillon. "He is a suspect, and I look for this person to be charged, but it's premature to say he will be because we've not yet completed this investigation."
The victim and the suspect lived together at 44 Willie Cothern Road in Jayess, authorities said. The investigation into when Berthelot was killed and why she was in the freezer is ongoing, he said.
"We're trying to determine that. In speaking with witnesses that remember seeing her, maybe after having interviewed some more of them in a little more detail, we'll know more," he said. "Yesterday was kinda sketchy. Mostly we want to talk to (Silvia) and see what we can find out."
Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M Public Affairs Officer Rusty Boyd said Berthelot's family members had called the sheriff's department, worried because they hadn't heard from her.
Berthelot's body has been sent to the Mississippi State Crime Lab for positive identification and autopsy, he said.
The coroner was called to the scene at 11:40 a.m. Thursday, Hartzog said, at which point he pronounced Berthelot dead. He said officials are awaiting autopsy results to tell when she was killed.
Boyd said authorities from several agencies were on the lookout for Silvia after he fled in a red Ford Aspire, and that he was picked up sometime Thursday afternoon.
"He was apprehended in the area," Dillon said. "Obviously, we just wanted to talk to him."