Real Name: Jessica Lane Chambers
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Courtland, Mississippi
Date: December 6, 2014
Details: At 8:10pm on December 6, 2014, nineteen-year-old Jessica Chambers was found burning next to her car which was also on fire. She suffered burns on all of her body. A flammable liquid had been poured on her body, down her throat, and up her nose. Early the next morning, she died as a result of her injuries.
Jessica's car keys were later found along a road near the crime scene. Her cell phone was examined by authorities in order to determine her movements on the day of the murder. They determined that she had spent the morning with two friends. She later went to her mother's house where she took a nap. Later in the afternoon, she left after receiving a text from someone. She told her mother that she was going to get something to eat and clean out her car. At around 5:30pm, she went to a gas station about a mile-and-a-half from where her body was found. This was the last time she was seen alive.
Location data from her phone showed that she went to nearby Batesville around 6pm, but returned to Courtland around 6:30pm. It is not known what she was doing in Batesville. About fifteen minutes later, she called her mother. Her mother noticed that it was unusually quiet. At 7:30pm, she drove to the area where she was found about a half hour later.
Authorities have yet to identify any suspects and the case remains unsolved.
Suspects: None known; as she was being treated by first responders, she allegedly said that someone named "Eric" or "Derrick" attacked her. However, no suspects were found with that name. Nearly everyone from the area with those names was questioned, but they were all ruled out. Her boyfriend was also questioned and ruled out as he was in jail at the time.
Extra Notes: This case was uploaded to the Unsolved Mysteries website on February 21, 2015. The person interviewed in the video is Jessica's sister, Amanda. It was also documented on People Magazine Investigates.
Results: Unresolved. In February 2016, Quinton Tellis was indicted on a capital murder charge in Jessica's death. He had prior convictions for burglary, drug possession, and fleeing from police. He had also been arrested in 2015 for the murder of another woman, Meing-Chen Hsiao, whose credit cards he was caught using after her death. In Jessica's case, investigators connected him through cell phone and text records. The two had known each other for a few weeks and allegedly were romantically involved. He was also the last person who texted her before her death.
Tellis changed his story about the day of the murder several times. Initially, he claimed to have only been with her during the morning. He claimed that he had gone to a store in Batesville around the time that she was murdered. Surveillance video showed him at the store at 8:26pm, more than fifteen minutes after the fire was discovered.
However, location data from their cell phones showed that the two were together until around 7:30pm. He had traveled to and from Batesville at the same time as her. When told of this, he changed his story, saying that he was with her until around 7pm. He claimed that a friend of his picked him up that night. However, when authorities questioned Tellis's friend, he said that he had gone to a football game in Nashville that night. His attendance at the game was confirmed, disproving Tellis's alibi.
When confronted with the discrepancies, Tellis changed his story yet again. He said that Jessica picked him up that night and the two went to a Taco Bell in Batesville. He claimed that the two went back to his house and sat in his driveway, listening to music. He claimed that she left his driveway at 7pm. However, her phone's location data and surveillance video from a gas station next to his home indicated that she left at 7:30pm and drove to the area where she was later found on fire.
Authorities felt that it was extremely unlikely that Jessica encountered someone else in the thirty minutes between leaving Tellis's home and being discovered on fire. A sample of his DNA was taken, which was found to match DNA taken from her car keys. It was discovered that her keys were found along a path between the crime scene and his sister's home. Surveillance video showed a vehicle, believed to his sister's, stopping briefly at his home at 7:50pm before driving towards the crime scene. Surveillance video also helped show that Tellis had changed his clothes three times that day.
Within an hour of Jessica's death, Tellis had deleted all communications with her from his phone and stopped checking on her, even though they had been in constant contact in the days prior. The deleted messages showed that in the week prior to her death, he repeatedly asked to have sex with her. Each time, she denied his request. The messages also showed that she had denied him sex four times on the day of her death.
Prosecutors believe that, while in Tellis's driveway, he tried to have sex with her; however, she resisted. They believe that he became enraged and suffocated her until she was unconscious. In order to distance himself from the crime, he then drover her car to the area where it was later found. He then ran on foot to his sister's home nearby, took her car, picked up gasoline from his home, and then returned to Jessica's car and set it on fire, with her inside.
Tellis's defense claimed that the person whom Jessica identified as "Eric" or "Derrick" was the real killer. Tellis told police that a sex offender named Derrick Holmes was stalking Jessica. Residents claimed to have seen the two together. However, he was ruled out by investigators based on his alibi and several interviews. Furthermore, doctors and other experts noted that it would have been difficult for her to say anything properly due to the injuries to her mouth and throat. Furthermore, Jessica did not use her phone to talk to anyone named Eric or Derrick in the thirty days prior to her death.
In October 2017, Tellis went on trial for Jessica's murder. Initially, the verdict was read as "not guilty". However, it was discovered that the jury misunderstood the instructions, as many of them had voted for "guilty". An hour later, the jury returned and said that they could not reach a verdict. A mistrial was declared; a new trial began on September 24, 2018 in a different county. However, during that trial, the new jury was also unable to reach a verdict, so a mistrial was again declared. Prosecutors are deciding whether to re-try Tellis a third time for the murder.
In February 2019, Tellis was indicted on murder charges in the death of Meing-Chen Hsiao. He has been transported to Louisiana where he will soon face trial in her case.
- Jessica Chamber on Unsolved.com
- Justice for Jessica Facebook page
- Timeline of Jessica's Case - February 17, 2015
- Mississippi teen burned alive identifies suspect before she dies: police - December 10, 2014
- Man indicted in mysterious Mississippi burning death of Jessica Chambers - February 24, 2016
- How Phone Records Tie Jessica Chambers Suspect To Two Murders - February 24, 2016
- Man charged in murder of Jessica Chambers pleads 'not guilty' - July 15, 2016
- Deleted texts show Jessica Chambers denied Tellis sex - October 14, 2017
- Phones reveal timeline of Chambers, Tellis whereabouts - October 14, 2017
- Analyst lays out prosecution's theory in burned woman trial - October 14, 2017
- Jury deliberating in case of Mississippi teen who was burned to death - October 15, 2017
- Jessica Chambers case: Mistrial declared for Quinton Tellis in teen's burning death - October 16, 2017
- Mistrial declared in burning death of Mississippi teen - October 16, 2017
- New date set for retrial in Jessica Chambers case - May 7, 2018
- Jessica Chambers trial jury hangs again - October 1, 2018
- Quinton Tellis to return to Louisiana following second Jessica Chambers mistrial - October 4, 2018
- Jessica Chambers murder suspect, Quinton Tellis, charged with Louisiana woman's murder - February 21, 2019
- Five years after Jessica Chambers' death, will there ever be justice? - December 5, 2019
- Jessica Chambers on Find a Grave