Some justice is finally being served in Courtland, Mississippi, following the burning death of teen Jessica Chambers. The 19-year-old girl was burned alive on a rural road in Panola County after she was doused in gasoline and set on fire on December 6, 2014. The Panola County Sheriff's Office was joined by the FBI after the community was exposed as a safe haven for gang and illegal activities. Although no murder charges have been filed regarding the murder of Jessica Chambers, the FBI has arrested 17 people thanks to the investigation into the teen's death.
The Daily Mail reports that 19-year-old Jessica Chambers was burned alive over a year ago, but no arrests have been made in the horrifying murder. The teen was left to die on a rural road in Panola County after leaving her home to get gas and a bite to eat. The last known footage of Jessica was taken at a local gas station, which shows the teen filling up on gas and waving to someone off camera. Investigators worked to piece together exactly where Jessica went after filling up with gas, but the leads ran dry as those in the community remained mum on the startling burning death of the teen.
However, during the investigation, the community in Courtland, Mississippi, was revealed as one rife with gang activity and a hub for illegal activities. The FBI says they specifically targeted the "members of the Black Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, and Sipp Mob street gangs." These targets were placed on the groups thanks to the investigation into the Jessica Chambers death and after gathering intelligence on their suspected criminal activity from local law enforcement and community members. The charges against the 17 arrested individuals include "child endangerment, possession of stolen firearms, narcotics sales, and felon in possession of a firearm to possession of counterfeit currency."
While no murder arrests have been made, Hal Neilson, a former special agent with the FBI, says he believes that the recent arrests could signify that the case will be solved sooner rather than later. He notes that with 17 people arrested in the underbelly of the Courtland community, it is likely that one will talk in a bid to save himself.
"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. They might already know who has done this. They might not have enough evidence to prosecute that person."
The new arrests in Courtland are providing hope to those hoping that justice will finally be served for a young woman who was taken too soon. Despite the murder seemingly going cold, that hasn't stopped friends and family of Jessica Chambers from continuing to post under the hashtag #JusticeForJessica on social media. Those posting hope that with new arrests, someone will finally disclose new information about the last moments of Jessica Chambers.
As for those arrested, the FBI has released a list of all of the suspects arrested in Panola County during the bust called "Operation Bite Back."
[Image via Facebook/Panola County Sheriff's Department]