Missing man#039;s remains found in Lowndes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The skeletal remains of a man who had been reported missing on Dec. 26, 2005, were identified last Thursday, Feb. 15, as those of Jeffery Cook of Hayneville. His remains were found in a shallow grave filled with water just off of Lowndes County Road 12 in Gordonville on Jan. 25.

Cook was 21 years old at the time of his disappearance.

According to District Attorney John Andrews and Hayneville Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell, the investigation of the murder continues, and several suspects are still being questioned. An arrest is anticipated in the near future.

Cook was reported to have been shot in the back of the head execution-style.

At a press conference last Friday, Cook's father, Willie George Wilson, thanked everyone for their help in investigating his son's murder.

Cook's mother, Anita Cook, is a resident of Hayneville.

DA Andrews said that he had promised Wilson that they would find his son, and then he promised him that they would find who was responsible for his son's death and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

&#8220I really want to thank the Alabama Bureau of Investigations, the Lowndes County Sheriff's Department, the Hayneville Police Dept., and the Prattville Fire Department for all of their help in finding Jeffery,” Andrews said. &#8220We've found his body; now, we've got to find who is responsible for this, and we will.”

Cook, a graduate of Calhoun High School, was last seen driving a blue 1994 Ford Crown Victoria in Hayneville on Dec. 23, 2005.

On Dec. 29, his vehicle was found behind the Best Suites Inn on the West South Blvd. in Montgomery with blood on the driver's side and on the panel of the vehicle.

The Governor's office has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the guilty person or persons.

Hayneville Police Chief Kelvin Mitchell said that Lowndes County has a &#8220stigma and an image attached to it” when it came to criminal activities that have taken place in the past.

&#8220This is a new day in Lowndes County,” Mitchell said. &#8220We want people to know that criminal activity will be relentlessly pursued and prosecution will take place to the fullest extent of the law.”

Hayneville Mayor Helenor Bell praised Mitchell and all of the agencies that had worked together to find Cook and bring closure to this case that has hit so close to home for them.

&#8220Chief Mitchell has left no stone unturned in this case,” Bell said. &#8220He has brought law enforcement in Hayneville to a whole new level.”

Both Mitchell and Bell agreed that the Cook case had been very &#8220trying” on not only the Cook family but also for the entire community.

&#8220The town of Hayneville extends its heartfelt sympathies to the Cook and Wilson family,” Bell said at the press conference.

Chief Mitchell offered a special word of thanks to Mayor Bell, DA John Andrews, Agent McNeil of A.T.F. and Explosives, Lt. Christopher West of the 2nd Judicial Circuit Drug Task Force, Debbie Goebels of the Human Remains Detection, the Prattville Fire and Rescue and their divers, and to Chief Deputy John Williams.

&#8220All of these people and agencies helped in this case anytime I requested it,” Mitchell said.