A murder indictment has been handed down for the burning death of 19-year-old teenager Jessica Chambers. Quinton Tellis, 27, was charged with capital murder by a Panola County, Mississippi special grand jury on Tuesday.
Fox News is reporting that Tellis is currently in custody at the Ouachita Parish Jail in Monroe, Louisiana, for charges in connection with the death of a University of Louisiana exchange student.
Reportedly, Tellis and Jessica Chambers had been in a relationship just prior to her death. Investigators believe he was with Chambers the night she died.
On December 6, 2016, someone had set Chambers on fire and left her for dead. She was found by emergency responders around 8 p.m. a short distance from a burning car. She was barely alive and had burns covering over 98 percent of her body.
Chambers' last words before he died have not been released by authorities, and it is unclear whether she named her attacker or if she gave them any relevant information. Hours later, she was pronounced dead at a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
John Champion, Panola County's district attorney, said investigators believe Chambers was home up until 5 p.m. on the day she was killed. She was spotted by surveillance cameras buying gas at a Courtland service station just before 6 p.m.
After receiving a phone call, investigators believe she stopped along Highway 6 near Batesville and remained there for nearly 15 minutes. Authorities have not released any details about where she was exactly.
Chambers made her way back to Courtland before 6:30 p.m. What happened after that, no one is quite sure. Police say she likely arrived in the area where she was killed around 7:30 p.m.
Quinton Verdell Tellis grew up in the same Courtland, Mississippi, neighborhood as Chambers. While eight years apart, they both attended the same high school.
Tellis was arrested in August of last year by the Monroe Police Department for charges related to the stabbing death of Meing-Chen Hsiao of Taiwan. Police say Hsiao had been stabbed to death in her apartment, and the murder appeared to have been committed by someone she was close to.
Hsiao was reported missing, and it was a week later when her body was discovered. While Tellis has not yet been officially charged with killing her, he is facing three counts of unauthorized use of an access card and one count of marijuana possession with the intent to distribute.
Tellis used Hsiao's Chase bank debit card once on August 7 for a $0.07 transaction. Days later, he used it again for two transactions, each time taking $500 withdrawals. ATM surveillance photos captured Tellis making the transactions and he has since admitted using the card on all three occasions.
During his arrest, police searched his home and found a quarter pound of marijuana. According to officials, the weed appeared to be packaged and ready for sale.
The Clarion Ledger reports that Tellis was married on August 8, the same day Hsiao's body was discovered.
Tellis has been sent to jail before. He was imprisoned in January, 2010, after being convicted on multiple charges of residential burglary as well as fleeing law enforcement. While incarcerated, records show several violations, such as refusing to work and making threatening statements.
In October, 2014, just before Chambers' death, he was released from prison and put on probation.
While a grand jury has issued an indictment of Quinton Tellis for Jessica Chambers' murder, more details as to how she died may be released today. Authorities in Panola County will be revealing some updates during a 10:30 a.m. press conference on Wednesday. Lisa Chambers, the teen's mother, has been asked by officials to not speak about the case until the news release.
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