Deputies identify body found in remote area

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 26, 2001

A decomposing body found in rural Adams County Saturday evening has been tentatively identified as a former Natchez resident. Investigators believe the death is a suicide.

Adams County Sheriff Tommy Ferrell said Sunday the body of Ian Balfour Dicks, 49, of 531 Riverton Camp Road in Columbia, was found hanging from a tree in southeast Adams County.

Ferrell said an entomologist from New Orleans who was doing research in the Homochitto National Forest discovered the body.

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The body was found off Federal Roadway No. 119H that connects with Garden City Road, Ferrell said. &uot;A 1994 gray Chevy Astro van was found nearby,&uot; Ferrell said. The van was registered to a friend from Gulfport. Ferrell said investigators found a tarp connected to the muffler of the van, an apparent attempt to funnel carbon monoxide gas into the car’s interior.

&uot;Apparently that not having worked, he went a short way into the woods, tied a noose around his neck and sat down,&uot; Ferrell said, adding the method was a common method of suicide.

Adams County Coroner James Lee said Sunday afternoon preliminary autopsy results confirmed the cause of death to be consistent with a suicide.

Investigators found two signed suicide notes at the scene, Ferrell said. The letters contained information on how to contact Dicks’ relatives, Ferrell said. Apparently none of Dicks’ relatives knew his whereabouts, Ferrell said.

In addition, Dicks apparently mailed suicide letters to several family members. Those family members had contacted law enforcement authorities in hopes of finding Dicks, Ferrell said. The letters were dated Aug. 15, the day investigators believe Dicks took his life.