Sunday, Aug 30, 2009
Posted on Sat, Aug. 29, 2009
Coroner places marker identifying last Katrina victim in Harrison Co.
By JAMES BATES
GULFPORT Strength, one of two initially unidentified Harrison County residents who died as a result of Hurricane Katrina, was identified earlier this year by family members to be Frank Jones of Gulfport. Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove led a graveside ceremony Saturday to place a marker identifying Strength by his real name. The other unidentified victim was called Will, later identified as James L. Blair.
The site in Evergreen Cememetery in Gulfport is the spot where the only two unidentified Harrison County victims of Hurricane Katrina were laid to rest after an exhaustive effort by Hargrove and his staff to identify every victim.
After being identified, Jones body was moved and placed next to his mothers grave in Jones County. Jones mother had contacted Hargroves office after the storm, searching for her missing son, but she mistakenly thought her son had multiple tatoos, though he only had one, leading the coroners office to believe they had the body of a different person.
According to Hargrove, 160 individuals lost their lives in the three Coast counties. Fourteen people died in Jackson County, including two unidentified. In Harrison and Hancock counties, 146 people died during the storm, including three victims who were never found. Claudia Marsden of Pass Christian was last known to be with her parents who also died; Clay Lantier of Gulfport was last seen floating on a mattress in Katrinas storm surge and Tonnette Jackson was last seen by her husband going under flood waters in Biloxi, never to be seen again.
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