The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Payne County Sheriff’s Office are opening an investigation into the death of a 45-year-old Ripley man.
OSBI released a statement Friday morning regarding its assistance of the investigation after PCSO responded to a 911 call and learned Mario Dwight Smith Sr. had “suffered trauma to the body consistent with homicide.”
The investigation of the discovery of Smith Sr.’s body began at about 4:45 p.m. Thursday, and after a search warrant was obtained for his residence, law enforcement did not leave the scene until about 4 a.m. Friday. The search warrant was carried out from about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, according to a source within the sheriff’s office.
Ripley residents and family members of Smith Sr. suggested to the News Press foul play as being a part of Smith Sr.’s death but neither Capt. Kevin Woodward of the sheriff’s office nor Jessica Brown of OSBI would confirm details.
Brown cited the ongoing investigation, and OSBI’s statement Friday morning indicated an autopsy of Smith Sr.’s body will be performed. She did, however, say the time frame for carrying out the search warrant “sounded about right.” The search warrant has not yet been filed through the Payne County Court Clerk’s Office, and Woodward said it could take up to 10 days before it appears.
According to the source within the sheriff’s office, a relative of Smith Sr. found him Thursday after he had not been heard from in a few days. The relative had reason to worry for Smith Sr.’s well-being; according to court records, Smith Sr. was due in court Wednesday for a pretrial hearing on 14 felony charges he was facing across three cases but did not appear, and a bench warrant was to be issued for his arrest.
The pretrial was reset for 10 a.m. on May 4. From offenses Smith Sr. was accused of across five days, he faced one charge of racketeering, two charges of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, one charge of trafficking in methamphetamine, two counts of knowingly concealing stolen property, one count of unlawful possession of meth, one count of unlawful possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, one count of maintaining a house where drugs are kept, one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and four counts of possession of a firearm.
All charges came after former felony convictions. Smith Sr. had waived his right to a preliminary hearing on those counts, but a plea of not guilty had been entered on his behalf without prejudice.