A Tylertown man was charged with murder Sunday after his girlfriend was found dead earlier that night.

Mona James of Tylertown was pronounced dead at 2 Brandon Bay Church Road after Walthall County deputies and AAA ambulance responded to a 911 call reporting a deceased person at the house there, Sheriff Kyle Breland said.

Keith Penton, James’ boyfriend, has been charged with first-degree murder.

Breland and Walthall County Coroner Chris Blackwell declined to comment on James’ cause of death due to the ongoing investigation, as well as Penton’s alleged motive and where or how he was arrested.

The sheriff’s office posted photos of Penton on Facebook Sunday night, asking for anyone with information on Penton’s whereabouts to call their office, 911 or other local law enforcement agencies.

Vonnie Shel’le Henry, James’ cousin, said that James was living on Brandon Bay Church Road.

Friends of James shared condolences and memories of her in the comments section of the sheriff’s office post.

Cynetha Neal remembered her as “a sweet person” who worked at the Walmart deli in Columbia.

She was a kind mentor to Tina Reid when she trained her to be a shift manager at McDonald’s in Columbia years ago.

“She was a very vibrant and lovable person that had a heart of gold and would help anyone she could,” Reid said.

Henry said she appreciated the outpouring.

“Pray for her kids the most! We more mad than anything,” Henry said.

Other members of James’ family could not be reached for comment Monday.

James’ death came just three days after the unrelated shooting death of Den’Javis Warren of Walthall County on Mississippi Highway 27 last Thursday.

Walthall County deputies arrested two Pike County residents, DaJohn Morgan and DeMarcus Smith, and charged them with first-degree murder in that case.

Breland said investigations into both cases are ongoing.

Man jailed in Kentwood  

couple’s deaths

A man who lived with a Kentwood, La., couple is accused of killing them and telling law enforcement officers the location of their bodies.

Iva Travis and Lewis “Payton” Travis, were reported missing on Feb. 18, after they had not been seen since Valentine’s Day, the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office reported.

Kevin Buckley, 34, was booked into the parish jail after he allegedly confessed to killing them.

Authorities said Buckley worked with Payton Travis and lived with the couple at their home on Highway 440.

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