Norman Ladner, then 17 years old, left his parents’ general store on August 21, 1989, to go hunting on the family farm outside of Picayune, Mississippi. He was intimately familiar with the 122-acre estate owned by his family. According to Norman Ladner Sr., his son was notorious for being tardy in returning home. Norman’s father worried when his son did not show up at home, which was supposed to happen between 7:00 and 7:30 in the evening. His son was found on the ground when Norman Sr. searched the area. Norman Sr. got on his knees and noticed that Norman was cold and had been a father for some time. The young man had been killed by a single headshot.

Investigation of Case

The Sheriff’s Department showed up just after 10 o’clock. After cordoning off the area, they started their investigation. Sheriff Lorance Lumpkin of Pearl River County stated right away that he had no reason to believe that a crime had been committed and that there had been no foul play because there had been no obvious signs of homicide. Lumpkin speculated that Norman may have been nearby in a tree when he fell out and his gun accidentally shot him in the head. Lumpkin also believed that Norman’s death was an accident.

The Official Ruling:

After the examination, the coroner and two police deputies said they were 90% certain that Norman’s death was an accident. Norman’s father claimed that the coroner also told him that it was an accidental death. The official verdict, which stated that Norman had committed suicide rather than died in an accident, came as a terrible shock to Norman’s family. The coroner’s verdict was supported by the fact that Norman passed away as a result of a close head injury. His right temple was struck by the bullet, which left his left side. It was a very typical su*cide wound.

The Family’s Disagreement:

Sheriff Lumpkin conjectured that Norman went into a part of the woods where he felt at ease and, for unknown reasons, committed suicide. Because he knew his son too well, Norman Sr. claimed he couldn’t understand how that was possible. According to Norman Sr., Norman was content, enjoyed life to the fullest, and was in no way depressed. $140 was missing from Norman’s wallet. The top of his head was cut for 1 14 inches. Authorities claimed that a bloody tree root discovered at the scene was what caused the head wound.Again, Norman Sr. didn’t understand how that could happen or how it could be possible because if someone fell straight back, their head would hit the side or the back, not up in the crown or peak of their head.

The Family’s Investigation

The parents of Norman started their inquiry. They looked for the bullet that had killed their son by digging in the dirt near where he had fallen. When Norman Sr. discovered a bullet, he claimed that it was too long to fit in Norman’s gun. Under a microscope, the chamber revealed dried blood and hair as well as the fact that it had not been bored out for the entire length of the bullet. Sheriff Lumpkin disagrees that the Ladners discovered the bullet that killed Norman and claimed that there is no evidence to support the police’s claim that Norman’s death was caused by the bullet that was fired, primarily because they believed that the wound was consistent with a suicide.

Additionally, Norman’s family discovered a box of bullets in his bedroom. The bullets weren’t the brand he typically used, and the box was nearly empty, so he hadn’t previously used them. Additionally, they learned that Norman had recently broken up with his girlfriend and had been upset about it, which made them think that he was not in a stable mental state when he passed away.


The cause of Norman Charles Ladner’s passing is still unknown. The official verdict was suicide, but his family is adamant that he did not commit suicide. They think that either an accident or a murder caused his death. However, it is unlikely that the case will be reopened in the absence of fresh evidence.

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