BREAKING NEWS IN MISSISSIPPI FAMILY SLAYINGS: Police have arrested a second male suspect in the gunshot deaths of a missing Mississippi family this week.
Cedric D. Mason, 30 of Jackson, was charged with two counts of capital murder and two counts of kidnapping late last night.
Mississippian authorities say they are still trying to determine the precise events that led up to the triple homicide of Atira Hughes-Smith, her 7-year-old son Jaidon Hill and husband Lattery Smith, but indicate that Mason criminally acted in concert with 42-year-old Timothy Burns already in custody.
Burns originally led police to the family-of-three's dead bodies, after which he was arrested on suspicion of murder.
He has been charged with two counts of murder and arson -- investigators believe it was Burns himself who wrecked the SUV of the missing Mississippi family and then set it on fire to destroy evidence.
It is not clear if the victims were in the vehicle with him at the time, when they were all actually killed, or if the three were somehow connected to the suspects.
The motive for the slayings also remains unknown at this time, although police continue to investigate.
"The preliminary investigation indicates Laterry Smith was murdered in a house in southwest Jackson. The crimes were committed in Hinds and Copiah counties and the district attorneys in those jurisdictions are conferring on the best manner to move forward with the prosecution of Mason and Burns," a department spokesman reported tonight.
"We have theories," he added, "but the investigation will ferret out the facts."