Headlines Cont. – 4/8/2005

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 8, 2005

The Panolian: INSIDE STORIES – April 8, 2005


Party for chief is next week
By Billy Davis

The Batesville Police Department is hosting an open house next week for retiring Police Chief Roger Vanlandingham.

The open house will be held Thursday, April 14 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the police department. The public is invited to the event.

Vanlandingham, 56, began his career as the city’s police chief in 1989.

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He will officially hand in his badge next Friday.


Baker autopsy shows drug/alcohol overdose
By Billy Davis

Toxicology results released this week showed a Batesville resident who went missing died from an overdose of drugs and alcohol.

Batesville police found Annie Baker, 38, dead in her trailer home on the afternoon of Tuesday, March 22.

Batesville police officers recovered drug paraphernalia and beer from the residence, said Det. Paul Shivers.

Baker lived in Trailer No. 110 in Still Trailer Park in west Batesville.

Police detectives investigated Baker’s death as a homicide but found nothing to substantiate foul play, Shivers told The Panolian.

An autopsy report performed earlier on Baker showed no signs of trauma to the body, county coroner Gracie Grant-Gulledge has said.

While drugs and alcohol were ruled as Baker’s cause of death, the manner of death will read "undetermined" on her death certificate, Gulledge told The Panolian following the release of the toxicology report.

"There’s not enough evidence to determine whether this was a suicide or an accident," Gulledge said "When you don’t have enough evidence, that option (of undetermined) is there."

Baker’s sister, Dorothy Ellis, said she was satisfied with the "undetermined" manner of death since it means the case can be continued if any new evidence surfaces.

"The way it was explained to me was that means this isn’t a closed case," Ellis said.

Ellis also said she was grateful for the cooperation from Gulledge and the Batesville Police Department, specifically from the detectives and Sgt. Terry Smith.

Smith discovered Baker’s body shortly after the police department was alerted about her disappearance.

Police Department sends care package to troops
Spc. Troy Moses, a tanker with 155th Brigade Combat Team, Mississippi National Guard, gives coloring books and pencils to Iraqi children during a routine anti-mortar security patrol March 13 in Iskandariyah.
Troy Moses and Ryan Koehn shouldn’t be wanting for tuna or viennas anytime soon.

When they are not on active Army duty in Iraq with the Mississippi National Guard, Moses is a sergeant with the Batesville Police Department; Koehn is a patrolman.

"He emailed yesterday and said he was hungry," specifically mentioning the two items sparse in Army fare, said Nita Taylor, administrative assistant at the Batesville Police Department. By the following day, a big "care" package had been assembled at the police department and was on its way to Iraq, she added.

Mobilized last August with Mississippi’s 155th Armored Brigade, Moses is now is Kalsu, Iraq with the 155th’s command section. It is an area filled with canals and palm trees, he stated in a recent email.

"Most of the Iraqis here love Americans," Moses continued.

"The children here will break your heart," stated the man who writes about his "lovely wife" Tanya and "precious daughter who is two years old" whom he has seen five times since his mobilization.
"We have it very good in America," he added, continuing his description of the Iraqi children’s living conditions: mud huts, drinking water from canals, sleeping on the dirt ground.

Moses and his fellow soldiers arrived in Kuwait on Christmas Day following training at Camp Shelby and then Ft. Irwin, California.

"The 155th came in here and is playing no games," Moses said.

"We have the best equipment here. All of our Humvees are armored. You do not roll out of the gate unless you are in one," the soldier continued.

"We just do our jobs and take it one day at a time," he said.

"Coping with fear is hard to explain; your training takes over just like in my civilian job. You do not realize it until it is over."

Moses describes that it is "different from all others. The enemy has no uniform, dressing as civilians and coming from nowhere."

Moses, who enlisted in the National Guard as a tank crewman in 1997, and his fellow soldiers have adopted a nearby Iraqi school and are seeking donations of school supplies and other children’s items.

"I know people have different views on this war, but unless you are here, it is hard to describe," he said.

"Insurgency is slowing down," the Batesville soldier added.

"I love serving my country; … I am just glad to be a part of history and helping this country," he said.

"We will be home soon."

Soon will probably not be soon enough to avoid the 130 degree heat of the Iraqi summer, but home for Moses will definitely be Batesville. He moved to Panola County eight years ago after having lived "in all parts of Mississippi," having grown up as a "preacher’s kid," he said.

"I love it there; I have made a lot of friends and plan to make it home forever," he said.

Moses joined the Batesville Police Department in 2001. When he is not working, he enjoys fishing, he said.

"I am with a lot of soldiers from Panola County and know a lot of them; we all sit around and talk about things back at home. We love what we do and we do it with a purpose," Moses said.

People wishing to donate items to the school adopted by Moses and his fellow 155th troopers can reach him by mail at:

Command Section
155 HQ, HHc BCT
APO AE 09325

Reach Moses by email at troy.moses@us.army.mil



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