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Still No Arrests in Citronelle Murder
CITRONELLE, Ala. (WPMI) Police in Citronelle are investigating after a body was found in the 19000 block of Prine Road. A driver spotted 51-year-old Alton Starnes Jr.'s body around 1:15 a.m. Friday morning.
As of 6 p.m. Friday, Chief Shane Stringer said no arrests have been made but detectives did find the victim's cell phone on the scene. It's a key piece of evidence they're using to follow leads.
"It looked to me like someone put him there," said James Dykes who lives on Prine Road in Citronelle.
Dykes and his wife made a disturbing discovery as they were driving home from a fishing trip. In the dirt beside Prine Road was Starnes' body.
"My wife was looking, I reckon, for deer and she happen to see the fella lying on the side of the road," said Dykes. "He was lying about a foot and a half off the highway. A cell phone was lying about a foot on the highway and he was face down, barefoot, blue jeans, dark t-shirt. He had blood in his right ear."
Starnes' wife told Local 15 News off camera that the couple had just moved to Citronelle from Grand Bay four days ago. Starnes is originally from Georgia, and the couple moved around a lot for his job, she said.
They were staying temporarily in a trailer on 4th Street and she said she has no idea who would want to hurt him.
Chief Stringer said an autopsy revealed that Starnes was murdered.
The question now is why.
Starnes' wife said her husband stepped outside for a smoke Thursday night. She went to sleep and woke up to a phone call from detectives. His car was still in the driveway, she said.
"There are persons of interest. The sheriff's office is following up on those leads now and interviewing a couple of suspects," said Stringer.
"It's sad and sickening because he was somebody's son," said Dykes.
Police would not go into details regarding the injuries the coroner found on Starnes' body.
The chief said Starnes had a criminal history. He was just arrested on a domestic violence charge in July and was due in court August 22, according to jail logs.
Police said they aren't ruling out any leads or possibilities in his death.
This is Citronelles first homicide of 2013, according to Stringer.