On December 6, 2014 in Rural Northern Mississippi, firefighters responding to a call in a country area were astounded when they came upon 19 year old Jessica Chambers. As they approached the a burning vehicle to which they’d been called, Chambers’ badly burned and near death approached them.
Ms. Chambers’ body had been burned over 90 percent and she died the following day after receiving treatment in a Memphis, TN hospital for her trauma.
What has followed has been a story that has taken some weird twists and turns, and while the cause and culprit(s) of this grisly, small town murder have yet to unravel, many theories are circulating among residents and those interested in ‘justice for Jessica.’
While Chambers’ movements in the hours before the murder may eventually lead investigators to her murderer, for now investigators are stumped about her whereabouts for the one hour period just prior to her rescue by firefighters.
Panola County District Attorney John Champion says Chambers told her mother, Lisa Daugherty, that she was going to a nearby convenience store to buy gas and to clean her vehicle.
She arrived there and bought gas, then visited a residence in Courtland, drove 10 minutes to nearby town, Batesville, MS, where she was spotted by a video camera.
By 6:30 p.m., Chambers had returned to Courtland, MS. Sometime around 7:30 p.m., police can place Chambers was on the road near where she and her car were later found. Her whereabouts from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. remain a mystery and are still at question for investigators.
Some point to racially motivated threats that circulated on Facebook amongst the profiles of area residents that day and in the days prior to the murder as potential clues to the killer(s).
In the days prior to Chambers’ death, Facebook exchanges among several Northern Mississippi African-American residents called for the ‘rape and burning of white women and children, especially the families of white police officers.
Others are also pointing investigators toward the strained relationship that Chambers had with her father, Ben, a non-uniformed employee of the Panola County Sheriffs Department (he works in the Department’s motor pool).
Ben Chambers has been arrested in the past and charged with possession of methamphetamine and in 2005 was charged with DUI.
He was reportedly constantly at odds with his daughter over her intimate relationships with African-American boys, a riff that reportedly caused Chambers to live outside his home at a very early age for years at a time.
Still others have speculated that the method of murder, burning, was meant to send a message by African-American gangs, or by white gangs affiliated with the meth trade in Northern MS. In the absence of theft, rape, or other crimes, many wonder if the gangs might have used Jessica and her murder to send a message about interracial dating or those who affiliate with members of other races.
Don’t miss this video of one of the suspects getting high: ‘Holmes, Dis Be Ya Homie Boy Brejuan Buyers Comin’ Atcha!’
Persons who may have any information about Chambers’ whereabouts prior to the murder are asked to call Crimestoppers at 800-729-2169. There is a $54,000 reward offered for information leading to an arrest.
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