Drowning Victim Identified as Long Beach High Senior Set to Graduate Friday Night


The identity of the drowning victim pulled from the Wolf River Thursday night has been identified as Peyton Taylor Henson, a Long Beach High School senior who was set to walk across the stage tonight with his fellow senior bearcats to be given his high school diploma.

Rescue crews worked throughout the evening Thursday after a young man was reported missing just before 5 p.m. by some friends he was with near the Bells Ferry  Bridge on the Wolf River in northwest Harrison County.

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The Long Beach School District’s website confirms that young man is Peyton Taylor Henson. Long Beach School District Superintendent Dr. Jay Smith posted these words of consolation on the school district’s website Friday morning: “The Long Beach School District is saddened at the tragic death of Peyton Taylor Henson who lost his life yesterday. He was scheduled to graduate tonight at 6:00 p.m. with the rest of our 2019 Bearcat senior class. On behalf of the entire district, our thoughts and prayers go out to Peyton’s family, and I personally pray that they will be comforted by the mercy and love of our heavenly Father. The Long Beach School District family stands ready to comfort and assist all those who loved Peyton. May God bless them at this most difficult time.”

No official word yet on the circumstances surrounding Henson’s death. The school district tells News 25 plans are underway to have an event to honor Henson’s life. We’ll share those details, and more, with you as they become available.



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Toni started at WXXV News 25 in December of 2013, just three months after the news was launched. She has served as Assignment Editor, anchored for nearly two years, worked as a reporter for several years and hosted Coastal Connections for more than four years. Toni graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Southern Mississippi where she was editor of the Student Printz. She then did an internship on Capitol Hill, working for a U.S. Senator, then returned to Mississippi as a reporter at WDAM in Hattiesburg. After that, she moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast, working as a reporter for FOX 25 in Biloxi, then crossing city lines to work at WLOX-TV news in Biloxi, starting out as a producer, then working as a photographer, reporter, weekend assignment editor and weekend anchor. She was among the station team that won the Edward Murrow and Peabody awards for coverage during Hurricane Katrina. Toni moved to the Lone Star State where she worked as the morning and noon anchor, investigative reporter and live shot reporter for KZTV Action 10 News, then KRIS TV News in Corpus Christi, Texas. Toni moved back to the Magnolia State to be with and take care of her family, working as a multi-media journalist and fill-in anchor at WDBD Fox 40 news in Jackson. After almost completing a second degree in filmmaking at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast, Toni transitioned back to news at News 25. Toni is blessed to have a wonderful support network of close family, friends and mentors, and she hopes to pay it forward. She has a three-legged chiweenie named Rocky Balboa because of his fighting spirit. She loves writing and has completed a novel that has been adapted into a screenplay, and has just finished another screenplay called "Delta Rose." She's currently working on a new legal thriller called "Fall From Grace." Stay tuned.... If you’d like to book a live in studio interview on News 25 Today, just email: tmiles@wxxv25.com. These interviews can have up to two guests, last about two minutes and showcase community events, non-profit organizations and things of interest to people in our area…and they’re FREE! Just send information about your event, including date, time, location, contact number and/or website for viewers wanting more information, along with the proper name and titles of the person or two people who will be interviewed, and Toni or producer Porsha Williams (pwilliams@wxxv25.com) will get back with you via email in a timely manner to book a date. Typical interview times are daily at: 5:45, 6:45, 7:45 or 8:45 am. Guests are asked to arrive about 30 minutes beforehand. You can also ask about booking a live shot on location for news events for our 6 and 7 am newscasts. We look forwarding to having you!