One dead

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 7, 2014

Firefighters responded to call of ‘car fire

An 18-year-old Panola County woman has died from burns that were apparently intentionally inflicted by assailants whom she was able to name before she lost consciousness.

Jessica Chambers was transported to the Med Saturday night after firefighters responding to a call of a car fire found her near the scene just outside Courtland corporate limits. Chambers is the daughter of an employee of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department. Investigator Barry Thompson said that the sheriff’s department had turned over the investigation to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

District Attorney John Champion confirmed Sunday morning that law enforcement officials are investigating a Saturday night homicide. Champion was en route to Batesville for a briefing on the investigation, he said.

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The Courtland and Pope Volunteer Fire Departments were toned out to the roadside fire at 3448 Herron Road at 8:12 p.m., Panola Emergency Management Agency Director Daniel Cole said. The first firefighters arrived at 8:16 p.m. The address is an extension of Courtland’s Main Street and unrelated to the crime, Cole said.

“When they got to there they found a female patient that had been burned and called for an ambulance and deputies,” Cole said. The victim “was able to talk just a little,” Cole said.

Ambulance personnel transported the victim to the parking lot of Courtland’s First Baptist Church where she was picked up by an Air Evac helicopter and transported to the Med where she died shortly afterwards. Cole said that investigators from the sheriff’s department and MBI were still at the scene when they received word that Chambers had died.