BOONEVILLE – A 22-year-old man has been charged with capital murder in the brutal death of his wife.

Mike Brian Rutledge, 22, of Booneville, is being held in the Prentiss County Jail without bond, accused of kidnapping and killing Laura Ann Rutledge, 35.

Her body was discovered July 27 in a wooded area just off North College Street in Booneville.

“They were married but separated and going through a divorce,” said Booneville Police Chief Michael Ramey. “She lived in the College View Apartments, which is not far from where the body was found.

“He has been cooperating with us. He gave a confession and gave directions to the body.”

Laura Rutledge’s body was sent to the state crime lab in Pearl. The preliminary autopsy said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and sharp force trauma to the head and upper body.

“She had been stabbed several times,” Ramey said. “Her hands were tied behind her back, which led us to believe she had been kidnapped, or was being held against her will.

“We have recovered the weapons we believe were used in the crime, but we are still actively investigating the case. We are still running down other people to interview and get statements. We are still getting cell phone information as well.”

Police believe the killing took place in the woods. The body was then moved a short distance further into the woods where it was later found.

One key piece of information police have not uncovered is when the killing took place.

“It appears the killing took place on Monday or Tuesday (July 24 or July 25), but we’re still not sure,” Ramey said.

Capital murder carries a sentence of life in prison without parole, or death.

Mike Rutledge was out on probation for a prior burglary charge. The Mississippi Department of Corrections has placed a hold on him.

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