Family fight leaves man dead on Christmas

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 29, 2002

Christmas morning found a Lowndes County man dead.

William Ellis Jr., of Hope Hull, was found dead of asphyxiation a little before 3 a.m. on Dec. 25, according to Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigator Jamie Martin.

Martin said that an altercation had occurred in the early hours of Christmas morning between Ellis and his wife. Their son had attempted to restrain his father, Martin said, and apparently had inadvertently held him too tightly causing him to asphyxiate.

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Martin added that the family had a history of domestic violence.

Martin said that when the sheriff’s department arrived, Ellis’ son was taken into custody. However, he was released Thursday and was not charged with a crime, Martin added.

Martin also said that Ellis’ son is currently a high school student and has no record of being in trouble.

The investigation is still in the early stages, Martin said, and no one has been charged with a crime. He estimated that the investigation would be complete by the second week of January since there were still some witnesses to interview.

Evidence in the case would probably go before a grand jury in February, Martin said.

Martin added that the sheriff’s department was waiting for the final autopsy report from the Department of Forensic Sciences. He said it would be ready in a couple of weeks.

The autopsy report, Martin said, will have information on the cause of death, any drugs, alcohol or medication that Ellis may have had in his system, and Ellis’ physical and possibly mental status.

Martin said that the death didn’t surprise him because the county has had eight homicides since June 24 of this year.

“We can only hope and pray for a better year,” Martin said.