Human remains found in Mississippi may be of missing Cumberland man

Donald Lee Izzett Jr.

CUMBERLAND — Nearly 25 years after her son disappeared, a Cumberland woman’s search for answers may have come to an end.

Debra Izzett Skelley has worked tirelessly through her pain and agony that began in 1995 when she lost touch with her only son, 19-year-old Donald Lee Izzett Jr.

Her quest for the truth about what happened to Donnie led her to the McComb and Fernwood areas of Mississippi, where an archaeological dig recently led to discovery of human remains.

“They have found some items that look promising — a high probability of human bone,” said Truett Simmons, a McComb district attorney’s office investigator.

“We’re not going to know for certain till we send it off to experts,” Simmons told the McComb Enterprise-Journal.

Skelley visited the Pike County site May 31.

Three previous searches for Izzett in the late 1990s, 2016 and 2017 were unsuccessful.

But those were different for Skelley.

“When I got there they just started hugging me and holding me and told me they’re overconfident,” she said.

Izzett was on a cross-country trip after his freshman year at Frostburg State University before when he vanished.

His last call to his mother came from California and he was reportedly upset and requesting money to return home.

The investigation reportedly led to an eyewitness who said Izzett was shot three times and his body burned at an isolated Fernwood property.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Izzett’s estate against Shane Guenther, formerly of Fernwood and now residing in Bremerton, Washington, alleges that Izzett died after a fight with Guenther.

Guenther’s attorney, Cynthia H. Speetjeans, of Madison, Mississippi, reportedly has denied the claim in federal court.

Skelley said Thursday she is bombarded with media inquires since the discovery of human remains that she believes to be that of her son. She declined further comment.

An investigation into Izzett’s disappearance is reportedly under investigation by authorities in Pike County. McComb District Attorney Dee Bates has reportedly credited Skelley with keeping the investigation alive, according to published reports.

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