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Press: UM Instructor's Death Ruled Homicide

Monday, May 31, 2004
Oxford Eagle

Staff Writer

Originally believed to be a suicide, the death of popular University of Mississippi Instructor Kristi Waterson is now being called murder by the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.

"Evidence discovered during the autopsy clearly shows Ms. Waterson's death to be a homicide," said YCSD Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones. Waterson was found in her apartment at 588 Hathorn Road by her roommate at approximately 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 23rd. Jones would not elaborate on what kind of evidence was uncovered during the Coroner's examination or if one or more assailants were involved.

"We have no suspects at this time," Jones said, "but our investigation is ongoing." Jones declined to comment on possible theories that YCSD detectives may have.

Through a spokesman, the Waterson family released the following statement: "We are deeply saddened at the grievous loss of our daughter and hope that the individual or individuals responsible for this crime will do the right thing and turn himself in to authorities. To aid the authorities in their search, the family is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and conviction of Kristi's murderer."

Waterson obtained her undergraduate degree in Political Science and her Masters of Business Administration from the University of Mississippi and taught in the School of Business Administration.

Colleagues were moved by the loss of one of their own. "She will be sorely missed my so many, I'm sure," said John Brewer, Head of the UM School of Business Administration. "Ms. Waterson's unique methods of teaching and reaching out to students will not be forgotten."

"She was one of a kind," said Nora Percy, also an instructor in the Business School. "To have so much and to have it taken away so suddenly -- there is a lesson there for us all."

Ole Miss students, too, were shocked.

"It's a terrible day for the school and for the entire student body," said Hunter Nelson, President of Delta Tau Chi fraternity.

"It's definitely a tragedy," said Deborah Eaton, "someone who has everything like she did, and now for her to be gone. There's nothing for us all to do but move on, I guess."

"She was a great teacher; I really liked her," said Rob LaRouche. "Violence like this is horrible. It's not what school should be about."

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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