Body of missing county woman found off Freetown|Driver wrecked early Saturday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2009

The life of a mother of two and grandmother of four was cut short while driving in the rain early Saturday morning on Freetown Road.

The body of Linda McClain, who was 43, was found by the Warren County Sheriff’s Department in Muddy Creek near Bovina Wednesday afternoon. Deputies were scanning roadsides in the area after McClain’s daughter, Ashley Jilbert, reported her mother missing on Sunday. They followed tracks, and McClain’s vehicle was found crashed into the deep ravine under the bridge. Her body had been ejected by the force of the impact.

Warren County Coroner Doug Huskey pronounced her dead at 1:10 p.m. at the scene.

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“On Saturday night, I left a note for her to call me and she never called me,” said Jilbert, who last talked with her mother Friday and for whom the discovery ended four desperate days. “It was out of character for her to run off. I knew something had happened.”

Jilbert, 21,and her 14-year-old brother, Cameron, who lived with McClain, are now with family and friends who remember McClain as a woman who loved crossword puzzles and her cat, Gilbert.

“She was extremely smart,” Jilbert said. “She was free, real mild-tempered. She was calm and she did a lot for me.”

She said her mother was the valedictorian of her 1999 graduating Certified Nursing Assistant class at Mississippi Delta Community College. McClain, who lived off Oak Ridge Road, also was a graduate of Rolling Fork High School.

Jeffrey McClain, McClain’s ex-husband and the father of Jilbert and Cameron, remembers, “She was a homebody, but she liked to be around people.”

Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said McClain’s body was found after Warren County Deputy and K-9 officer Brad Redditt, while on a foot-search of the area where she was last seen, spotted a vehicle that was determined to be that of McClain’s in a ravine in the 2900 block of Freetown Road between Greyline Drive and Platte Road, Pace said.

Pace said the vehicle had appeared to have crossed over into the oncoming lane and down the ravine while McClain was traveling west on Freetown Road in the early hours of Saturday morning. It was unclear where she was going.

Pace said she was ejected from the 2000 gold Chevrolet Malibu and the flow of the creek took her body several hundred feet downstream.

Jilbert said her mother was familiar with the area where she was found, so she must have become disoriented. “It was a normal road for her,” she said.

Pace said the location of her vehicle about 40 feet under the bridge in the ravine was not visible to anyone driving along Freetown Road.

McClain’s death was the eighth fatal wreck reported in the county this year, including one on nearby Tucker Road on July 3 in which 58-year-old Eddie Humphries, who had been riding a motorcycle, was killed. Three vehicle fatalities have been reported in the city.

In addition to her children, McClain’s survivors include the four grandchildren, ages 5, 4, 2 and 10 months, all of Vicksburg; her mother, Barbara Jones of Edwards; and a sister, Diane Albright of Clinton.

Huskey said her body was taken today to the Mississippi Crime Laboratory for an autopsy.

Riles Funeral Home will have charge of services, set for Saturday.


Contact Manivanh Chanprasith at