On December 6, a truly ghastly event occurred in Panola County, Mississippi. Recent high school graduate Jessica Chambers, a 19-year-old former cheerleader, was carjacked and murdered. No murder is ordinary, but this one was particularly heinous. The only clue found at the time was Chamber’s cell phone, found close to the scene of the crime.
When first responders arrived, they saw a car engulfed in flames off the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, Jessica was seen running on the side of the road as well, engulfed in flames. As Chambers was rushed to the hospital, she attempted to speak.
The first responder Jessica spoke to claims she uttered the words “Erick” or “Derrick.” This information allegedly divulged to the paramedic simply wasn’t credible enough to produce any tangible leads for police to follow. Speaking any sentence would have been exceptionally hard for Jessica in such a state. During her murder, gasoline was found down her throat and in her nostrils, according to autopsy reports.
With the limited information, Panola law enforcement created a fairly strong timeline of events. Chambers spent most of the afternoon in her residence, leaving her house at 6:00 p.m. The last place she was seen alive was at a local gas station, M&M First Stop Gas. She arrived at 6:25 and left at 6:32, according to surveillance footage. She then made a phone call to her mother at 6:48 p.m.
Firefighters stated they found chambers at 8:13 p.m. after receiving a 911 call. According to the Chicago Fire Department, fire departments typically take about five minutes before departure to a scene. Plugging in the location in Google Maps shows it would have taken an additional minute to get there. Let’s additionally assume it would have taken about ten minutes to subdue the victim and douse both the car and victim with accelerant. This means the time the murder occurred was sometime between 6:48 and 7:57 p.m., a time window of a little more than an hour.
Since the date of the crime, the investigation has been just as perplexing as the case itself.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, district attorney, Panola Police Department and “hacktivist” group Anonymous, have all been involved in investigating the case. Police have interviewed over 100 people in relation to the murder. So far, no arrests have been made. Since the events of December 6, those who knew Jessica have gone silent on any details about her and the ongoing case, with many scrubbing social networking sites like Facebook of any references. As the trail started to go cold, a $18,000 cash reward has been offered to anyone with information that leads to the killer.
As Anonymous began to release classified information and photos, the case took surprising turns as it was revealed the rabbit hole went much deeper than previously thought.
To be cont’d next week.