Burned Alive: Jessica Chambers

Teen Died With Burns on 98% of Her Body

Jessica Chambers
Jessica Chambers. Facebook

On Dec. 6, 2014, Panola County Sheriff's deputies responding to a call about a burning vehicle found 19-year-old Jessica Chambers engulfed in flames near the vehicle. Reportedly, she was able to tell first responders who poured accelerant down her nose and throat and set her on fire before she died with burns over 98 percent of her body.

Here are the latest developments in the Jessica Chambers case:

Reward Increased in Burned Alive Case

Jan. 13, 2015 - With no street chatter at all about the case being reported around the small Mississippi town of Courtland, the FBI has increased the reward for information about the killer of a 19-year-old woman who was burned alive last month in hopes of getting someone to talk.

The total reward for information about Jessica Chambers' killer is up to $43,000, an amount investigators hope will loosen some lips in the small community. Authorities admit they have few clues to go on in the current investigation.

Panola County District Attorney John Champion hopes the increased reward will uncover more clues.

"I still have hope that people will do the right thing regardless of monetary benefit, but we can't ignore the fact that money can be a driving force," Champion told reporters. "This is the most frustrating case I’ve ever had to deal with in my 22 years in law enforcement."

No Arrests in Burned Alive Case

Dec. 9, 2014 - Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby said authorities are working around the clock to gather evidence in the burning death of Jessica Chambers. Sheriff Darby said deputies are searching for a person of interest in the case and are continuing to interview other witnesses.

Investigators are also examining Chambers' cell phone, which was found in the charred remains of her car, to try to establish a timeline of her movements on Saturday, Dec. 6, and identify possible witnesses with information about the case.

Authorities are also examining surveillance video from a convenience store on Highway 51 in Courtland, Mississippi, where Jessica stopped to get gas Saturday and apparently ran into someone she knew.

The video shows Jessica getting out of her car then seeing someone off camera that she apparently recognizes. She waves at the person and then walks off camera in their direction.

Then another camera shows a man in a striped shirt fill up what appears to be a gas can before he walks off camera in the same direction that Jessica walked. Later, Jessica returns to her car, finishes pumping gas and then drives away.

About 90 minutes after she left the convenience store, someone called 9-1-1 to report a vehicle burning on Herron Road. A volunteer firefighting crew that was two miles away responding to another call, rushed to the scene.

No arrests have been made and no one is in custody in connection with Jessica's horrific death as of Tuesday, Dec. 9, according to Assistant District Attorney Jay Hale.

Woman, Car Found Covered in Flames

Dec. 6, 2014 - Authorities hope the final words of a woman they found burning alive on the side of a rural Mississippi road will help them solve her murder. Responding to a 9-1-1 call about a vehicle fire, volunteer firefighters found 19-year-old Jessica Chambers barely alive and her car engulfed in flames on the side of Herron Road near Courtland.

Chambers was taken to a Memphis, Tennessee hospital where she was pronounced dead from burns over 98 percent of her body. Courtland is about 60 miles south of Memphis along Interstate 55.

Before she died, authorities said Jessica was able to whisper to the first responders information that might lead to her killer.

Poured Accelerant Down Her Throat

Investigators believe that someone was with Jessica inside her car. They believe that she was hit in the head - she had a large gash on the top of her head - and possibly knocked out. Someone then poured accelerant down her nose and throat and set her on fire.

When deputies came on the scene, Jessica was walking down the narrow Herron Road completely engulfed in flames. Family members said the only part of her body that was not burned was the soles of her feet.

Panola County Sheriff investigators have not revealed what Jessica told firefighters before she died, but her father, Ben Chambers, who is a mechanic for the Sheriff's Office, told reporters that she told them the name of her killer.

No Boyfriend, Family Says

Family members said that Jessica did not have a boyfriend or anyone else in her life they knew about who would have a reason to harm the popular teen.

"She was a loving child, man, 19 years old, just finished high school. Had her whole life ahead of her," Ben Chambers told reporters. "I love her you know, I'm so sorry Daddy wasn't there for her. I'd trade places with her in a minute if I could."

"It takes my breath sometimes," Chambers said. "It's hard to even breathe."

Jessica's mother, Lisa Chambers, asked that anyone with information about the case to come forward.

Justice for Jessica

"They have ripped everything I have," she said. "She left to go clean out her car and was going to get something to eat. She said 'Bye, I love you, Mama. See you in a little while.' Next time I seen her, she was in the Med."

Chambers said she wants justice for her daughter.

"God's punishment is going to be far more worse than anything that we can do," she said.

Friends have established a Justice for Jessica website to keep her case before the public. The site had 42,096 "likes" by Wednesday, Dec. 10.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (662) 563-6230.