Search under way after Mississippi woman burned alive

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2014 2:02 PM

By Therese Apel

COURTLAND, Miss. (Reuters) - Mississippi investigators searched on Tuesday for a "person of interest" in the death of a 19-year-old woman who police said was set on fire after being doused with a flammable liquid.

Deputies responded to a call on Saturday about a burning car in Courtland, Mississippi, and found Jessica Chambers on fire outside the vehicle, the Panola County Sheriff's Office said.

She died of thermal injuries at a hospital, with preliminary autopsy results revealing severe burns over 98 percent of her body, said Panola County Coroner Gracie Gulledge.

Chambers' sister, Amanda Prince, said on Tuesday that Chambers was able to tell investigators the identity of her attacker before she died.

Officials told Chambers’ family that the person may have been inside her car and may have poured accelerant down her throat and nose before setting her on fire, Prince said.

Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby said witnesses were being interviewed and deputies were zeroing in on a person of interest in the case.

Prince said Chambers called her mother around 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and indicated she was going to pick up some food and clean out her car.

“She never came home,” Prince said.

Chambers’ father, Ben Chambers, told WMC-TV that firefighters found her walking down the road, still on fire.

Prince described her sister as friendly and positive and said she did not know of anyone who might have wanted to harm her.

"She was so much light. She was definitely put here for a reason," Prince said.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Mohammad Zargham)