Atira Hill, Laterry Smith and Jaidon Hill

Police found what they believe are the bodies of an African-American family that went missing on Friday, NBC10 reports.

The three bodies, belonging to a man, a woman and a young male child, were discovered in an abandoned house on Tuesday close to the area southwest of Jackson, Miss., where investigators found the family's burned car over the weekend, the site said. They believe the bodies are those of Lattery Smith, 34; Atira Hill, 30; and Jaidon Hill, 7.


The bodies are undergoing identification and autopsies, but a coroner told the news site that all three had been shot. 

Authorities have Timothy Burns, the 42-year-old man who led them to the bodies, in custody.  Burns was charged with arson of a vehicle, though more charges are likely, according to NBC10.

A prayer vigil was held on Tuesday night at Jaidon’s elementary school in Brandon, Miss., where he was in the second grade.


"They're not kidding when they say he smiled all the time, and I just want that happiness to be remembered instead of how he died," principal Sue Townsend told News10 after the service.

A local pastor is counseling family members as they figure out how to cope with the sudden losses.


"Right now, everything is very surreal. They really don't have a full grasp of everything that has happened," the Rev. Wayne Bass of the Trinity United Methodist Church told the news station after the vigil.

On Saturday a passing motorist found the family’s car in a burning wreck. By Monday investigators had uncovered items belonging to the family, including clothes and an ID card belonging to Hill. These belongings were found in a garbage bin at a gas station in south Jackson, Miss, NBC10 reports.


Someone also attempted to use an ATM card belonging to the family in a town across the county line from where the vehicle and bodies were found, but police have yet to collect the video and any other evidence present in that occurrence.

Burns, who was arrested later Monday night, led authorities to the bodies early Tuesday morning. Investigators don’t believe he had any connection to the family.


Read more at NBC10.

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