According to court testimony on Thursday, a missing Quitman County couple were the victims of an alleged conspiracy to kill them over drugs and money.
In the preliminary hearing for Haley Pierce, the additional details in the disappearance of Will Polk and April Jones were the stuff of murder mysteries.
Pierce, who is accused of murder in both Polk’s and Jones’ death, had her case bound over to grand jury after the details started to come out. She chose not to speak on her own behalf so that she could hear the evidence against her. Most of that evidence was in her own confession.
Pierce was arrested after she admitted her alleged involvement to two of her friends, who then identified her in a photo lineup for police.
Quitman County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Peter Clinton said Pierce had admitted to police that she was there when she heard several other alleged conspirators, including her boyfriend Dale Gann, coordinating a plan to kill Jones and Polk.
“It was because of some drugs and money that was owed to a suspect we haven’t named yet,” Clinton said. “We call that person Individual 1.”
To pay off their debts, these people were tasked by Individual 1 with killing the couple, Clinton said. Allegedly, each person involved in the conversation had to shoot them so none of them could rat on each other, Clinton said.
They were killed on a backroad in Quitman County, Clinton said. Pierce allegedly gave conflicting statements on how they were disposed of, having said both that they were thrown in the Coldwater River, and also that they were fed to hogs.
When asked why they haven’t found the couple yet, Clinton said police can only answer that measures had been taken to hide the bodies.
Polk and Jones disappeared on Oct. 10, 2019. Some people tried to say they had run off together, but when Jones missed her daughter’s birthday and Polk didn’t come back for his brother’s funeral, those who knew them best gave up any hope that remained.
The case seemed to stagnate for a while, until the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation was brought in — specifically Agent Cory Burrow. The addition of Chief Deputy Peter Clinton to the Sheriff’s Department also seemed to throw fuel on the fire that had begun to burn under the case.
Pierce is just the tip of the iceberg, officials said. Her boyfriend Dale Gann was arrested just a week later, and was also charged with two counts of murder. There will be more arrests and more charges, authorities promise.