In the murder case of Jessica Chambers, news updates on the story have been few and far between. The Mississippi girl was burned alive in December of 2014, but so far no arrests have been made directly related to the victim. A year after the sensational murder, 17 gang members were arrested, but the FBI called the arrests a byproduct of the investigation into Chambers’ death. Jessica’s mother, Lisa Chambers, is hoping for justice for her daughter, but Jessica’s father, Ben Chambers, believes the police “know now who did it.”
Part of the reason the FBI targeted suspected members of the Black Gangster Disciples, Vice Lords, and Sipp Mob street gangs was due to reports that Jessica “spurned a relationship invitation by a black gang member” shortly before her death. While none of the arrested men turned out to be related to the Chambers case, a family friend named Jordan Bryant believes that Chambers was not randomly murdered.
“I think it was real personal,” he says. “I wouldn’t wish that type of death on anybody. I think someone was trying to send a message.”
Based upon older news, Jessica Chambers’ last words may have also left a message for police. Before having the Mississippi girl burned alive, the killer squirted lighter fluid down her throat, and into her nose, before lighting her ablaze. Before she passed away from her injuries at Regional Medical Center at Memphis, Fire Chief Cole Haley claimed to have heard her say a man’s name despite having charred vocal chords. Police investigated locals who had similar-sounding names, but nothing came of this lead.
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Back in August, Jessica’s father said investigators already knew the identity of the murderer, but they were looking for more evidence.
“I talked to the investigator and he gave me some good information,” Ben Chambers said. “They know who done it and they got proof. They just need some more proof.”
District Attorney John Champion continues to work on the Chambers case with local police and federal investigators. The reward for any information has more than doubled, going from $25,000 to $54,000 as of this publishing. Ben told The Commercial Appeal that it can sometimes be frustrating waiting on a long investigation, but he also reiterated his claim that authorities may already be zeroing in on a specific person of interest.
“I know (authorities) are working on some good stuff, and I think we’re very, very close to having something,” Chambers said. “There’s no doubt in my mind they know now who did it.”
Champion won’t officially confirm these statements made by Jessica’s father, but he did say they are continuing to work the murder case every day. He also gave more details about what was known for certain about Jessica’s whereabouts before she was brutally murdered.
— Tom Dees (@TomDeesFOX13) January 29, 2016
The district attorney says Jessica received a call from a friend at 5 PM before leaving home to visit a M&M mini mart. The owner of the mart, Ali Alsanai, has been cleared of the crime due to video evidence, but otherwise all that is known is how she traveled by car into Batesville only to return to Courtland by about 6:30 PM. Champion says the important gap in time occurred from 6:30 to 7:30 PM, when she arrived at the site of her death.
Authorities will not say whether someone came forward to fill in this time gap with new information, but Mr. Chambers feels confident that the police have identified the killer. As to what his daughter was doing at the time, Ben admitted that his daughter had been “running with some bad folks” before her murder.
“But I don’t think there were any hard drugs,” Ben said. “She smoked some pot.”
Jessica’s best friend in high school, Leslie Hall, claims that Chambers was indeed experiencing a rough time in her life before the murder, but in October of 2014 Jessica told Hall that “she was going to church and everything was falling into place for her.” Other friends said the 19-year-old cheerleader was turning her life around, and Jessica’s mother prefers to remember the good times.
“She’d always say she was going to sleep in her own room, but she’d end up coming in room and sleeping with me because she’d say it was cold in her room. So she had a pillow that I still sleep with. People say I’m crazy, but I keep it with me,” Lisa remembered. “She was a bad seed there for a minute, but she had got to where she was that sweet girl again.”
Anyone with information about Jessica Chambers’ murder is asked to call the FBI at 601-948-5000, the Panola County Sheriff’s Department at 662-563-6230, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-729-2169.
— Kat (@fly_funny) January 16, 2016
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