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A death row inmate confessed to another killing and led police to human remains before his execution.
David Neal Cox was executed on 17 November, having been convicted in 2012 of murdering his estranged wife, Kim Kirk Cox, and sexually assaulting her 12-year-old daughter.
However, Cox had long been a suspect in the 2007 disappearance of his sister-in-law Felicia Cox, and before he was put to death, Felicia's daughter, Amber Miskelly, wrote to him pleading that he disclose the location of her body.
Cox subsequently admitted to killing her and prosecutors agreed to grant him immunity in exchange for her location, which he illustrated with a drawing of a map before waiving attorney-client privilege, allowing lawyers to hand it over to police after his death.
Authorities began searching the site in Pontotoc County at around 9am on Sunday (12 December) and the presumed remains of Felicia were discovered at 1.20pm.
They were then sent to the Mississippi Medical Examiner's office for an autopsy and DNA testing to confirm the identity.
Detailing how the discovery came about, District Attorney John Weddle said in a statement: "On Thursday, 18 November, one day after Cox’s execution, Krissy Nobile, Director of CPCC [Mississippi Office of Capital Post-Conviction Counsel], reached out to District Attorney John Weddle, to advise that Humphreys McGee with that office would be calling with additional information.
"McGee called on the same day and made arrangements to meet with District Attorney John Weddle, Assistant District Attorney Paul Gault, and Assistant District Attorney Reagan Wise on the following day in Pontotoc County, and that pursuant to Cox’s waiver of attorney-client privilege effective after Cox’s execution, he would disclose details about the location of Felicia Cox’s body.
"McGee, Weddle, Gault, and Wise met around 2:30pm on 19 November, 2021, at which time McGee shared a letter from Cox instructing his attorneys regarding the timeliness of the disclosure accompanied by a hand-drawn map by Cox marking the location."
The statement continued: "On Monday, 22 November, our office met with Sheriff Leo Mask, Chief Investigator Jimmy Whitehead, Investigator Tim Matthews, and former Pontotoc County Investigator Bob Poe, to discuss Cox’s disclosure and plans for recovery of the body.
"Logistics of the search for Felicia Cox’s body were planned with the assistance of Mississippi State University Departments of Archaeology and Anthropology. It was decided that ground-penetrating radar (GPR) would be used by MSU personnel to assist in the recovery.
"The assistance of cadaver dogs from Golden Triangle K9 out of Columbus, Mississippi was also added to the efforts.
"On Sunday, December 12, 2021, search efforts began just before 9am. The presumed remains of Felicia Cox were located at approximately 1.20pm. Amber Miskelly and other family members were present on site and were able to view the recovery after the location was secured."
Writing on Facebook, Amber said: "Thank you all for praying and support!! Thank you to my family that were by my side today! Thanks to all the workers there today!"
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