Investigation, questioning continue in weekend killing of local woman|[11/28/06]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Vicksburg police said they were continuing to question people in the shooting death of a woman who celebrated her 20th birthday Friday.

The body of Amanda Yevette DeVaul was found at her home at 807 Second North St. at 1:20 a.m. Sunday when authorities responded to a medical call.

Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey, after an autopsy was performed, said the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the chest and he ruled the case a homicide.

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&#8220We have interviewed a half-dozen people who were at or around the scene,” Sgt. Tom Wilson of the Vicksburg Police Department said Monday.

LaTasha Johnson, one of DeVaul’s three sisters, was at the scene when police arrived.

&#8220We don’t know any more than what the police told us,” Johnson said. &#8220But I know they didn’t have to shoot her. She was just well-loved.”

Detectives initially declined to say whether they thought DeVaul was a victim of foul play, but hours later some details on the investigation were released.

First, Wilson said, DeVaul’s live-in boyfriend had been interviewed. He was the one who returned home from a trip to the store to find DeVaul on the front steps of their apartment, and he made the 911 call.

&#8220She was found outside of the home by her boyfriend and other individuals on the front steps of her apartment,” Wilson said. &#8220They said they had gone to the store at Cherry and Clay and came back home and found her there.”

Wilson would not say whether the boyfriend is considered a suspect, but police did test his hands for gunshot residue. Other forensic tests are pending, he said.

Wilson said police recovered a gun but would not say whether they believe it was used in the shooting.

DeVaul, police said, had lived in the Second North Street home since February and was unemployed.

Her body was released to Marshall Funeral Home in Bude.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Vicksburg Police Department at 601-636-2511.

DeVaul’s death is the second homicide of 2006 inside Vicksburg. Four have been recorded in Warren County outside the city limits.

In 2005, five homicides were recorded in Vicksburg and none in Warren County outside the city limits.