Homicide could be ruling in deaths

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 22, 2004

UNIONTOWN – State and local law enforcement agencies continued an investigation Monday after the bodies of two men were found this weekend in a Perry County soybean field.

The bodies of Lawrence “Tootie” Alvin Smith, 25, and Kenneth Dixie, 37, both of Uniontown, were discovered about 4:45 p.m. Saturday by local farmer Tom Belcher in his soybean field along County Road 53 about three miles south of Uniontown and just two-tenths of a mile from the county line.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation, called in by Uniontown officials, would only confirm they are assisting Uniontown police in the investigation into the men’s deaths.

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Uniontown Police Chief D.S. Rhodes said the investigation is being treated as a homicide investigation until a cause of death is established and a determination can be made.

“Right now we don’t know what happened,” he said, calling the deaths suspicious but stopping short of calling them homicides.

“They’re at Department of Forensics now and that will determine the cause of death,” he said.

District Attorney Ed Greene was notified of the investigation by the ABI and said it wasn’t unusual for such a case to be treated as a homicide.

“That’s part of what ABI is looking into – whether it is (a homicide) or it isn’t. Preliminarily it’s being treated the same,” he said. “It’s a suspicious death and we’re looking.”

Rhodes said Belcher discovered the car when he went to check on his soybeans and saw a car in the field. Both bodies were inside the car, which was about a car-length into the field. A tree line with small trees lies between the field and the road.

Rhodes declined to disclose the make and model of the vehicle, but said he never dreamed that he’d be conducting such an investigation in Uniontown.

“It’s highly unusual,” he said. “I never thought I’d have to deal with something like that in this city, but I guess that’s the generation we’re living in.”

Rhodes has been chief since 1993 and said his most problems come from domestic violence and juvenile-related crime in the city of about 3,000.