A grisly killing in a small town in Mississippi has local residents on edge and looking for answers.
A blond-haired teenager with no known enemies was found walking down a rural road on fire Saturday night. She had been beaten, doused with lighter-fluid and set ablaze.
Jessica Chambers, 19, of Panola County was found engulfed in flames near the charred shell of her car sitting on the roadside in the town of Courtland. The town has a population of 460.
She was flown to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, but later died. Preliminary autopsy results reveal Jessica died of severe burns to 98 percent of her body, according to a report by Fox affiliate WAFF of Huntsville, Alabama.
“They have ripped everything I have,” Lisa Chambers, Jessica’s mother, told WAFF. “She left to go clean out her car and was going to get her something to eat.”
Jessica never made it home.
Her father, Ben Allen Chambers Sr., said investigators told him his daughter whispered something to first responders before going unconscious. He and others believe Jessica told them who her attackers were.
“When the fire department got there, she was walking down the road on fire,” he said in WAFF’s report. “Only part of her body that wasn’t burned was the bottom of her feet.”
Fighting back tears, the father then described how his daughter’s attackers knocked her out, and squirted lighter fluid down her throat and in her nose.
“She had a big gash on top of her head,” he said. “She told them, she told them, told him who done it.”
Investigators won’t say what Jessica said or release any details about how she died.
“I love her you know; I’m so sorry Daddy wasn’t there for her,” her father said. “I’d trade places with her in a minute if I could.”
Ben Chambers worked as an employee for Panola County Sheriff’s Office. He believes his friends and co-workers will find his daughter’s killer and bring them to justice.
Her parents are not the only ones left wondering who could commit such a heinous crime.
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