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Officials in Mississippi are investigating two roadside slayings that could be the work of a murderer posing as a police officer or highway patrolman. Both took place in the northern part of the state, not far from the Tennessee border.
The first incident occurred on May 8 in Tunica County. The Clarion-Ledger reports that the 1997 Pontiac Grand Am of Lori Anne Carswell was found along Mississippi Highway 713, and her body was discovered a short distance away.
The second incident took place on May 11 in nearby Panola County. Thomas Schlender was found dead in his 1999 Ford F-150, in the median of Interstate 55. Shell casings were found near the vehicle.
According to CNN, the two deaths occurred about 55 miles apart from one another, and both took place in the early hours of the morning. Apart from that, authorities haven't gone into much detail as to why they think the two incidents may be related, but Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Director Larry Waggoner has revealed that both may be the work of someone posing as a law enforcement agent.
From the plains of the Mississippi Delta to the rolling hills of the Ole Miss campus, these tragic events have set the citizens of north Mississippi on edge. No matter who's behind them, they provide an important reminder about highway safety -- particularly as many of us prepare for long road trips over the summer months.
Whether you're close to home or a thousand miles away, be careful out there. If you should see those dreaded flashing lights in your rear view mirror, pull over in a well-lit area -- preferably someplace with other people around. If that's not immediately possible, slow down and turn on your hazards until you can find an appropriate place to stop.
And if something seems especially suspicious, by all means whip out your cell phone (even if it means breaking the law). Unless you know the special code that connects you to the highway patrol -- assuming there is such a code in your state -- just call 911. Far better to be safe than sorry.