Gulfport Police are investigating a “suspicious death” after authorities responded to a missing person call Thursday morning and instead discovered a body inside a large box, Sgt. Jason Ducre said.
Police have detained one person and began questioning that person Thursday afternoon, Ducre said.
Authorities have not identified the deceased person and were transporting the body to a crime lab Thursday afternoon, Ducre said. They will likely not identify the person until Friday morning, Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer said.
Detectives were called to a home at 16th Avenue and 22nd Street in Gulfport about 10 a.m. Thursday, Ducre said. They found the body in what Ducre called a “makeshift box” that he said was so big police could not fit it through the door.
The box was about 6 feet long, 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep, Switzer said. It was made of wood and looked like a wall locker with double doors, he said.
The box was laying flat “like a coffin” when authorities found it, Switzer said. He said the body was covered in “junk” and “all kinds of stuff,” including clothing.
“We just didn’t dig too far into it,” Switzer said, because once police knew there was a body inside they did not want to disturb evidence.
“We don’t know if the person is male, female — anything,” Switzer said Thursday afternoon.
Police cut the wall around one of the home’s windows to extract the box from the house, Ducre and Switzer said. Ducre said detectives found several similar boxes in the residence’s yard. The exact purpose of those boxes is unclear.
Authorities brought the box and body together to the crime lab, Switzer said.
Ducre said it is unclear if the body is the same person reported missing. That person was reported missing Dec. 22, he said, but police are not making the missing person’s identity public at this time.