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It’s a week we simply cannot forget

For seven days, you could just sense something was different in Vicksburg.

That something different was the uneasiness around town as law enforcement officials from throughout the state converged on Vicksburg and Warren County to help in the search for suspected killer Rafael McCloud.

This time last year, we were in the midst of that manhunt, in the midst of our coverage of McCloud, who had escaped from the Warren County Jail and then died at the hands of a family he took hostage in the early hours of March 10, 2016.

For those of us at The Post, the 7-day manhunt was filled with stories, rumors, potential sightings, twists, turns and dozens of daily phone calls to our law enforcement contacts.

For those searching for McCloud, who was being held at the Warren County as a suspect in the brutal kidnapping and 2015 murder of Sharon Wilson, I cannot even imagine the emotions, the sleepless nights, the countless cups of coffees and tips that fell through.

You could hear the stress in the voices of those we interviewed. They wanted Rafael back in jail. They wanted him to stand trial and face justice for what he was accused of doing.

You could see the stress on their faces as each search turned up nothing.

It was a tough week and the ending was as tragic as anyone could have predicted.

Rafael’s death put an end to the manhunt, but his actions of taking a family hostage, terrifying them, leading to the wife and husband both shooting him, just added to the week’s horror.

Whenever I sit back and think about that week, I take a moment to pray for the family who was terrorized and faced a horror I hope they can somehow forget.

Whenever I sit back and think about that week, I often say a prayer for the men and women of law enforcement to keep them safe in a job that is a true calling.

McCloud’s family is also in my prayers, as they too were terrorized by the actions of their relative. They did not choose his path, but they have had to live with the effects.

It is been a year since McCloud terrorized our community. The wounds have healed, but the memories are still there. And, the need for prayer for all involved has never been more important.
Tim Reeves is publisher of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at tim.reeves@vicksburgpost.com.

About Tim Reeves

Tim Reeves, and his wife Stephanie, are the parents of three children, Sarah Cameron, Clayton and Fin, who all attend school in the Vicksburg Warren School District. The family are members of First Baptist Church Vicksburg. Tim is involved in a number of civic and volunteer organizations including the United Way of West Central Mississippi and serves on the City of Vicksburg's Riverfront Redevelopment Committee.

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