By Jack Gurner
WATER VALLEY – C. Columbus Buford was laid to rest Saturday, Dec. 19, four days after being found dead at his home, the victim of a homicide.
Buford, known as Jimmy to his friends, was 73. He leaves a wife, Gertie Buford, four sons and two daughters.
Authorities went to the Buford home around 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, when a visitor became suspicious and called Police. Investigators roped off the house and yard at 515 Calhoun St.
By 5:30 p.m. two officers from the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and Sheriff Lance Humphreys had joined Police Captain Roger Thomas at the location.
Coroner Ronnie Stark pronounced Buford dead at the scene and ordered the body sent to Jackson for autopsy. Authorities have not released the cause of death.
Police followed leads throughout the evening and into the early morning hours of Wednesday, Dec. 16. A two-man Police team was still going house-to-house interviewing persons of interest at 3 a.m. that morning.
Buford had been the victim of a robbery less than four months ago when a masked male entered the home and demanded money. He had been injured in a fight with the suspect who then took money and fled the scene.
Police and Sheriff’s Department deputies conducted a search for Gary Caldwell, who was located at 2226 CR 121 with his girlfriend Cecelia Cook. Both were arrested, Captain Thomas said of the earlier incident.
Gary Caldwell, 24, was charged with armed robbery and burglary of a dwelling. Cecelia Cook, 18, was charged with conspiracy to commit armed robbery and accessory after the fact.
Over the past few weeks, Buford had repeatedly called Police to his home for various suspicious activities. Radio traffic indicated an immediate response by patrol officers.
On Monday, yellow Police tape still draped the yard and house. Just down the street, long-time neighbor John Hawkins raked leaves in his yard. “He was a hard working man and a good neighbor,” Hawkins said of Buford.
Police Chief Mike King said that investigators were analyzing evidence and conducting interviews. “We’re still following all the leads that are coming in.”
King urged anyone with information to call Police at 473-2933 or Yalobusha County CrimeStoppers at 1-866-933-TIPS or 473-4935 or send a Web Tip to: TIPS@YalobushaCounty.net.
Crime Stoppers callers are never required to reveal their identity nor testify in court.