Murder suspect taken into custody

Thursday, February 18, 2010 ~ Updated 10:22 AM

NEW MADRID -- One person is in custody as law enforcement officials continue their investigation into the apparent murder of a Howardville woman.

New Madrid County Sheriff Terry Stevens reported today that officers have one man in custody in connection with the death of Dorothy Hood, 49, of Howardville. The name of the suspect was not being released pending the filing of formal charges, Stevens said.

The New Madrid County Sheriff's Department received a call at 1:59 p.m. Wednesday of the discovery of Hood's body on County Road 501, located between New Madrid and Lilbourn.

"A local citizen was out driving when he saw what appeared to be blood on the gravel road," Stevens said. "He got out and looked around and that is when he saw the body in the fence row."

According to the sheriff, the woman died from what appeared to be a gunshot wound.

The body was to undergo an autopsy today to determine the exact cause and time of death. Stevens said it appeared the body had been at the scene overnight.

Members of the New Madrid County Sheriff's Department assisted by the SEMO Major Case Squad, which includes officers from the New Madrid and Scott County Sheriff's Department along with the Sikeston Department of Public Safety, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the police departments of New Madrid and Lilbourn, worked through the night on the case. The suspect was taken into custody at 11 p.m.

They were returning to the crime scene today to search the area for evidence including the murder weapon, Stevens said.

"We are trying to wrap up all the loose ends until we move to the next stage," Stevens said.

The Sheriff went on to praise the assistance received in the case. "The cooperation of all the respective agencies greatly enhanced the possibility of us resolving the case so quickly and making an arrest," he said.

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