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Hundreds Gather to Mourn Teen Who Was Burned Alive, As Investigators Gain New Leads in Horrific Murder

December 14, 2014  |  Posted by: Giovanni DePhillips
Hundreds Gather to Mourn Teen Who Was Burned Alive, As Investigators Gain New Leads in Horrific Murder Image courtesy of abcnews.go.com

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Friends and family members mourned the death of the Mississippi teen who was burned alive, in a barbaric murder that has shocked the entire country.

Hundreds packed a funeral chapel Saturday to remember the life of Jessica Chambers as she was laid to rest.

Police are hunting the person or persons responsible of the horrific murder.

Deborah Sanders, the 19-year-old’s aunt, said before the service at Wells Funeral Home in Batesville that the support of the community after the young woman’s death has comforted the family, but they are desperate to find whoever killed her.

“We’re going to focus our energy on the capture of those who did this,” said Sanders, who planned to honor Chambers by decorating a Christmas tree in her memory — the holiday was Chambers’ favorite time of year. “Her mother and I were there when she took her last breath,” Sanders said. “The fire took all that away.”

Rev. Larry Kilgore told around 300 mourners Saturday that Chambers “fought some battles, some very tough battles,” but that she was committed to improving her life before she was killed.

The reverend shared the feelings of many who wondered why someone would take the life of the teen. “Our hearts are hurting, our spirits are burdened,” he said.

Ben Chambers, the father of Jessica said his daughter left a battered women’s shelter a few months before she was killed. “She was getting on the right track. She had learned her lessons from being in bad relationships,” he told NBC News Saturday.

According to Police, Chambers was doused with a flammable liquid and set on fire on a back road in Panola County on Dec. 6, firefighters and first responders found her badly injured but still alive.

She died later at a Memphis hospital.

Police Investigating the murder “are looking at the strong possibility” someone was in the car with a 19-year-old Mississippi woman moments before a fire engulfed the vehicle, a prosecuting attorney said Friday.

But District Attorney John Champion would not say what led investigators to believe Jessica Chambers wasn’t alone just before the fire burned her and the car Saturday night near a rural road near Courtland, Mississippi.

After obtaining warrants and cracking a password, police were able to access Chambers’ phone records and are following up on leads, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Police are searching her data and text records after obtaining warrants Wednesday that compelled Google and her cell phone provider to give police access to her phone’s content, Champion said. Investigators believe her phone will be “the key to everything,” the prosecutor said. She received a call before she left her house, he said.

On Thursday, Champion spoke at a news conference, pleading for public help with the case and asking anyone with information, even if they think it’s insignificant, to talk to police.

He said he didn’t expect an arrest in the immediate future.

Champion said Wednesday that when firefighters arrived at the scene, Chambers approached one of them and spoke. Champion didn’t divulge the teen’s words but said, “It has certainly given us a lead we’re following up on.”

Thus far, Police have made no arrests and have questioned one person in the case, who denied knowing her. A reward on Friday was increased to $11,000 for information leading to her killer.

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