The boyfriend of the Mississippi woman who disappeared last week before she was found dead on July 1, has been arrested and charged in connection with the murder of her and their unborn child, after turning himself in on July 1, police said.
Terrence Sample, 33, is charged with kidnapping, capital murder, and murder, in relation to the death of 21-year-old Makayla Winston, who was nine months pregnant when she was killed, according to the Holmes Co. Sheriff, reported WJTV.
Sample was questioned by MBI and several deputies when he turned himself in at the department on July 1, showing up with a lawyer, according to Sheriff Willie March.
“He and his lawyer came in last night,” March told People.
“He was questioned by MBI and some of the deputies concerning involvement in this young lady’s death and he didn’t really answer the questions about what he knew about her but anyway we kept him because we have received some information that he was with her that night around 1 o’clock,” the sheriff told WJTV.
Sample was held at the Holmes-Humphreys County Regional Correctional Facility on July 1, and was charged the following day.
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Although the victim’s family members believe Sample was Winston’s boyfriend, he told officers he didn’t know her and wasn’t her boyfriend, March said.
News of Sample’s arrest came shortly after Winston’s body was found. The 21-year-old was found by sheriff’s deputies in Lexington, Mississippi, off of County Road 471 in Holmes County at around 12 p.m. on July 1, according to March.
She was reportedly due to give birth on July 4, and was last seen alive on June 27 in a four-door 2008 Pontiac Grand Prix, after leaving her Goodman home, authorities said.
Family members told police she was driving to see the father of her baby to show him a sonogram, but she never returned home.
On the morning of June 28, Winston’s vehicle was found abandoned at an intersection with the keys still in the ignition, and her phone discarded in the grass nearby, with all text messages erased.
Investigators said there might have been a white vehicle parked behind the woman’s car at one point, but details are not clear.
“Kind of like an SUV. But no one knows who was driving the SUV,” March told WCSC. “The cell phone was cleaned up so we’re also doing an investigation on the cellular phone, trying to find out what was erased,” he added.
Before Winston was found, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation interviewed several people about her disappearance, according to People.
“I just want my baby home,” Yvetty Brown, her mother, was quoted as saying by WBLT before her body was found.
“Let my baby go,” she told WJTV. “Let her come home and enjoy her first child because we love her… and we’re going to take care of the baby no matter what. So I just want my baby to come home.”
“She was a quiet person. She didn’t hang out. Mostly, she was around family,” added Brown to WCSC.
The victim’s neighbor, Bobbie Wade, who lived nearby for years and saw her daily, described the incident as heartbreaking, and said Winston was a “quiet,” “very loving and kind person” who “wouldn’t harm no one,” reported the Clarion Ledger.
March said Winston’s body did not show obvious signs of trauma, reported WLBT. Her body was sent to the State Crime Lab in Jackson to determine the cause of her death.
Sample is yet to make an appearance in court and has not entered a plea yet.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Mississippi is among the 38 U.S. states that have fetal homicide laws, allowing charges for those found guilty of killing an unborn child.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.