#JusticeForJessica: 17 People Arrested During Jessica Chambers Burning Death Investigation, Case Still Unsolved

Tara West

A 19-year-old Mississippi girl was burned alive last year in a horrifying murder that has left the Courtland, Mississippi, community reeling. Chambers was doused with gasoline and set on fire by an unknown party or parties and left to die on the side of the road. The teen was found on the rural road with burns over most of her body and was rushed to a Memphis hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

At the time of her death, reports indicated that the teen said someone's name before passing away and led police and the FBI on a manhunt for the murderer. What was uncovered was a community rife with gang activity, drugs, stolen firearms, and counterfeit money schemes. Although a murder suspect has not been formally charged in the horrific burning murder of Jessica Chambers, the investigation into her case has resulted in the arrests of 17 people.

USA Today reports that the Jessica Chambers case is still unsolved after a year of investigation by the local Panola County Sheriff's office and the FBI. With a year passing, the friends and family of Jessica Chambers are demanding justice for the teen taken too soon by such a violent crime. The hashtag #JusticeForJessica continues to be posted on social media sites, with many hoping someone will finally speak out about the case.

While an arrest in the murder has not been made, the FBI has arrested 17 people after uncovering a ring of illegal activity in the community. FBI agents "targeted suspected members of the Black Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, and Sipp Mob street gangs and began arrests at around 4 a.m. CT in Oxford, Mississippi" on Tuesday. The men arrested ranged in age from 18 to 40 and have been indicted on for federal and state crimes including narcotics sales, possession of stolen firearms, and possession of counterfeit currency.

With 17 arrests made for varying illegal activity in the community that was rife with gang activity, a retired FBI agent things that an arrest for the murder may be just around the corner. Fox 13 Memphis News reports that Hal Neilson spent 23 years working as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and he believes that the recent arrests could signify that the case will be solved sooner rather than later.

Neilson says that drug dealers will do anything to get themselves off the hook, and that could mean someone finally talking about the horrifying burning death of Jessica Chambers. If any of these arrested individuals know additional information about the murder, they may talk in a bid to save their own life.

"These drug dealers will do anything in the world to help themselves. And if that means giving up their best buddy, they will do it."

In fact, Neilson says that the FBI may already have new information on the Jessica Chambers' case due to the arrests.

"They might already know who has done this. They might not have enough evidence to prosecute that person."

The investigators working on the case are substantial with the Panola County Sheriff's Department, Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, and the U.S. Attorney's Office all working the murder case. Officials have claimed that a "lack of street chatter" is the main reason that the case is taking so long to crack, but they are hopeful the new arrests will result in some new information about the burning death of Jessica Chambers.

For those unfamiliar with the case, Jessica Chambers was found walking on the side of a rural road in Courtland, Mississippi, last year after someone doused her in lighter fluid and set her on fire. The teen later died from her injuries but not before her father claims she whispered the name of her killer to those responding to the scene. The Courtland, Mississippi, community has a large gang population, and police have been having difficulty getting individuals in the community to talk. A recap of the situation can be viewed below as well as here and here.

Do you think authorities are getting closer to bringing #JusticeForJessica, or will the tight-lipped gang members keep quiet for fear of retaliation?

[Image via Facebook/Justice for Jessica]