Lawmen treating body found case in DeSoto Co. as homicide

HERNANDO, Miss. (AP) - The investigation into the death of a 44-year-old Memphis woman, whose body was found this week in DeSoto County, is now a homicide case, according to authorities.

A woman identified as Tonya Faulkner was found dead near U.S. Highway 61 and State Line Road about midnight Tuesday, said Chief Deputy Steve Atkinson of the DeSoto County Sheriff's Department.

"Initially it was thought that she had died as the result of some kind of traffic accident. They are now treating the death as a possible homicide and we will join them in the investigation," Atkinson said of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

DeSoto County Coroner Jeffery Pounders said Faulkner "appeared to have some blunt trauma injuries to her head."

"Initially it had been thought that she could have been the victim of a hit-and-run traffic accident, but now investigators believe that she had been killed somewhere and then dumped along the road," he said.

Faulkner had no identification on her body, Pounders said. "She was initially identified through fingerprints, but then her family was contacted and family members positively identified her from photographs," he said.

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