Mia Chay Brown
Missing woman's body identified
The Holmes County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the body of Mia Chay Brown, 24, was found inside her burned 2000 Toyota Avalon Monday. Authorities said Tuesday they now have a positive identification.
Capt. Harry Hamilton of the sheriff’s office said their primary suspect is Johnny Mack Skeeto Calhoun, 33. Calhoun appeared before a judge Tuesday morning on a charge of tampering with evidence. Hamilton would not elaborate on what that charge stems from, saying that it is an active and ongoing investigation.
Calhoun’s bond is set at $20,000. If he bonds out, he will be transferred to Alabama as there are charges against him there. According to court records, Calhoun faces charges of possession of a controlled substance and of bond forfeiture in Dale County, Ala. after he was arrested in there on June 13. He was set to go to court on those charges in February.
Brown, of Bonifay, was reported missing on Thursday. She was last seen around 8:15 p.m. at her work place. Brown was employed at Charle’s Store in Esto. Friends and family said she gave Calhoun a ride that night.
Investigators said their search for Brown began as soon as her disappearance was reported. Hamilton said they were hoping for a different outcome, but they are now focusing on gathering evidence in the case to make sure the person or persons responsible are put behind bars.
On Monday morning, Brown’s car was found in a wooded area in Geneva County, Ala. Later that afternoon the Avalon was pulled from the woods. Calhoun was also taken into custody Monday afternoon. Hamilton said he was found in his travel trailer in Esto hiding under a bed, and was taken into custody without incident. Calhoun’s travel trailer is now evidence in the case.
Geneva County Sheriff Greg Ward said two game and fish officers with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources discovered the Avalon early Monday after receiving information that Calhoun was known to camp in the area. The wardens discovered a tent over the weekend, Ward said.
“(Calhoun) had been known to camp in this area. They were checking to see if someone had been sleeping (in a tent) there and happened to see where some dishes had been knocked over. The vehicle was about 200 yards away from there,” Ward said.
The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences, Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Alabama Fire Marshal and the Geneva County Sheriff’s Office were all involved in the search and early investigation.
Brown said his department was notified on Monday by Geneva County sheriff’s authorities that the vehicle for which Florida law enforcement was searching had been discovered.
On Tuesday, authorities from the Holmes County Sheriff’s Office and Alabama continued to look for evidence in the area where Brown’s car was found. They are utilizing canines experienced in article recovery. Investigators are continuing fingerprint and DNA testing as well.
On Wednesday, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s crime lab will be processing Calhoun’s travel trailer. They are also assisting in processing other items related to the investigation.