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A man who pleaded guilty to the 2019 murder of a 37-year-old woman from Eatonville was sentenced to 40 years Tuesday by Forrest County Circuit Court Judge Robert Helfrich.

Jeremy Scotty McCarty was considered a prime suspect in the disappearance of Emalee Luvenea Walters, who was reported missing Aug. 14, 2019, to the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office. McCarty was arrested in the investigation into Walters’ disappearance on a separate charge of Aggravated Domestic Violence involving a family member. After he was arrested, he denied that he knew the location of Walters.

During the investigation into Walters’ disappearance, she was last seen or heard from about mid-July 2019. After more investigation, additional evidence, and witness statements, McCarty was charged with first-degree murder in Walters’ death. However, McCarty was never brought to trial on the murder charge.

McCarty was on probation from the Mississippi Department of Correctionsfor a previous burglary, and he was transferred to the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County to serve the remainder of that sentence.

In January 2020, Sheriff Charlie Sims began a new administration at the Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, and he designated several cases as a “priority” to be solved, including Walter’s case. The Forrest County Sheriff’s Office, along with the Forrest County and Perry County District Attorney’s Investigators, continued to develop leads in the case and re-interviewed witnesses and combed through the case file for evidence.

On Nov. 10, 2020, Forrest County and District Attorney Investigators traveled to Rankin County to interview McCarty, when McCarty admitted that he murdered Walters on July 11, 2019, at his McPhail Road residence in Forrest County. McCarty also agreed to lead Investigators to Walters’ remains, which were located in a wooded area in southeast Covington County.

On Jan. 12, 2021, McCarty pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Walters and was sentenced to 40 years to be served day-for-day by Helfrich.

“I would like to thank the individuals and agencies for their assistance in this case and for their continued diligence and perseverance in bringing Walters’ murderer to justice,” Sims said. “They are the initial and current Forrest County Investigators assigned to the case, the Forrest and Perry County District Attorney’s Office, the Hattiesburg Police Department Metro Crime Scene Unit, the Jones County Sheriff’s Office, the Covington County Sheriff’s Office, the Covington County Coroner’s Office, the 12th NET Metro Narcotics Task Force and the friends and family of Emalee Luvenea Walters.”

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