• Panola County Sheriff's Office investigating death of woman found burned near her car

    By: Lynnanne Nguyen


    The Panola County Sheriff's Department investigating a car fire outside of Courtland Mississippi they say killed a young woman Saturday night.

    The cause of the fire is not known. According to Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby, a passing motorist alerted his department and the fire department to the scene. Darby says by the time rescue workers got on the scene the car was fully engulfed in flames. The driver tried to tell rescuers something but she was so badly burned she could not be understood. She was transported to Regional One where she later died.

    The fire happened around 8:15 Saturday night just south of Courtland. The Panola County coroner has identified the victim as 19-year old Jessica Lane Chambers.

    Authorities tell FOX13 the victim's father works for the Panola County Sheriff's Office, fixing cars.

    The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations has stepped into the case because of Chambers' connection to the Sheriff's Department.

    The young teen's is sending shock waves through the small community of Courtland, Mississippi, a town with a population of only 460 people.

    “Everybody at church this morning when they heard about it, some of them had already heard, they were like I was, they just couldn't believe it, that something like that would happen here,” Family Friend Louise Aaron said, “But it does happen and its getting closer to home all the time.”

    Aaron says she's known the family for years.

    “It just devastated me because I'd known Jessica the little girl ever since she was born,” Aaron said, “I knew her mother when she was born, and her grandmother is a really good friend of ours.”

    The family is now dealing with this devastating loss not only for them, but for the community.

    “They're doing as well as can be expected I guess,” Aaron said.

    As the community tries to begin to heal, family friends say they hope whoever's responsible is soon brought to justice.

    “It's just a wasted life,” Aaron said, “I sure hope they catch them real quick and put them in prison.”

    If you have information that may lead to an arrest, please contact the Panola County Sheriff's Office at (662) 563-6230.


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