There were several unknowns Thursday surrounding the discovery earlier this week of a man’s body lying on the shore of a lake near Sidon.
What is now known is that the man was Walter Stewart Jr., a 54-year-old who was born and raised in Greenwood, said Leflore County Sheriff Ricky Banks.
The body was discovered Tuesday by a fisherman at Sidon Cutoff lake, a Yazoo River brake located 3 miles southwest of Sidon.
According to the Mississippi State Crime Lab, Banks said, Stewart died from multiple gunshot wounds and that he was shot before his body was dumped into the lake.
The Sheriff’s Department and the Greenwood Police Department are now working together on the murder investigation, Banks said, because authorities believe the case may have started in the city.
Stewart had been living in a motel room in Greenwood, Banks said. The sheriff wouldn’t name the motel, saying Stewart could have been taken from the hotel and transported to the lake.
Some of Stewart’s friends filled in details of his life.
Renaldo Hunt, who described himself as Stewart’s best friend, said Stewart grew up with two sisters and a brother. He was not married but did have one daughter, he said.
“He was a good person. He didn’t bother nobody,” Hunt said. “He just stayed to himself.”
Hunt said that he and Stewart had been friends for nearly five years.
Hunt said Stewart didn’t have a job recently but had been a professional kickboxer.
Comments on Facebook by several of Stewart’s acquaintances recalled his skilled kicks and punches as a fighter.
Many of those commenting were also surprised by the news about their friend and sadden by the nature of his death.
“He practiced kickboxing for a living,” said Marcellus Gray, who looked up to Stewart as a role model. “That kind of amazed me and I wanted to learn how to do those things, too.”
Gray said Stewart started kickboxing in the backyard of his house, where he had built a boxing ring.
Later on, Gray said, Stewart had “some professional fights,” touring cities across the country.
For Greenwood, Gray said, Stewart had a big name.
Stewart had also provided Gray with guidance. When Gray was arrested in 2006, he said, Stewart taught him how to carry himself in prison to avoid trouble.
Eventually ill health, including two strokes and a heart attack, stopped Stewart from kickboxing, Gray said.
He said he was unsure how Stewart supported himself after that.
Stewart’s killing marks the third homicide in Leflore County this year. The first two, including the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Jordan Lloyd on Saturday, took place in Greenwood.
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