A great mother with a happy spirit and always smiling, this is how people close to Courtney Cooke remember the slain 27-year-old.
Her former employer, Boyd Burns, Co-Owner of the Handy Stop convenience store said, "She's the kind of person that you don't come across everyday, she was special we are going to miss her"
Police found the Courtney shot to death inside her car, parked along the Natchez-Trace Parkway Thursday morning, around 2:00am, at mile-marker 143, right outside of Carthage.
Just 2-1/2 hours prior, Courtney had contacted her mother when she was leaving work at the Handy Stop on Hwy 35, to let her know she'd be home soon.
Courtney's mother shared the last text messages she received from Courtney.
The first came in at 11:31 from Courtney saying, I'm on my way… kiss ivy for me.
At 12:06 Courtney' mother responded, "Ivy's waiting for you, we're leaving at 6 for Jackson."
Courtney replied, "I'm on my way momma."
That would be the last Courtney's mother would ever hear from her daughter again.
Her mother says Courtney had moved to Carthage from Hattiesburg to make a new life for herself and Ivy- her one-year-old daughter, now left without a mother.
Her sister, Markitta Scott, recalls the last conversation she had with Courtney, just hours before she died. She said, "I was like, I love you and she was like, hold up, before you hang up, she was like if anything ever happens to me, ya'll make sure Ivy is taken care of. I didn't know that was going to be my last talk with her."
As for the person responsible, no arrests have been made yet, but police do have one person of interest.
Courtney's family is now left to pick up the pieces.
If you have any information, you're asked to call the Leake County Sheriff’s Department at (601) 267-7361, Crimestoppers at 886-481-8477 or 601-355-8477, or the Natchez Trace Parkway 1-800-300-PARK(7275).
Courtney's family is planning funeral arrangements for next week.
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