Burned teen's father: 'They're coming for you'

JACKSON, Miss. -- The father of the Mississippi teen found burned nearly two weeks ago said he wants whoever killed his little girl in solitary confinement.

Ben Chambers also made a vow Wednesday.

"Because I promise as long as I have breath in me I can talk to people and make sure they're not comfortable in there," said Ben Chambers.

Jessica Chambers, 19, was found in Courtland, Miss., on Dec. 6, walking away from her burning vehicle with burns covering more than 98% of her body. Officials immediately classified the investigation as a homicide. Coroner Gracie Gulledge said the cause of death was thermal injury.

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Ben Chambers said the family has received support from all over the world, and it's not just from law enforcement. It's from all levels of so many communities.

"Everybody's supportive," he said. "And there are people calling us from other towns saying even their lowest dope dealer and troublemaker is trying to find out who did it. Everybody's angry about this."

The support is helping, but Jessica Chambers' family is still in utter shock.

"We don't really even know how to go about healing," her father said. "Everyone I look at, I'm wondering, 'Do you have anything to do with it?' "

The autopsy has been completed, but officials are tight-lipped on what the results add to the case.

"We know what happened to her," said District Attorney John Champion. "We're not going to comment on that."

The final results of the autopsy might not be available for about six weeks, Champion said, but officials have what they need to know what happened to the teen before her tragic burning death.

Panola County Sheriff Dennis Darby said Tuesday that each day officials feel like they have a new lead to follow as the case evolves. Media reports have discussed various individuals who have allegedly been cleared in the investigation, but investigators won't comment on specific witnesses and/or suspects.

"We're still just out there talking to people and going through everything," Champion said. "We've got a wealth of information and we're checking on every lead."

Chambers told the first name of her attacker to Courtland Fire Chief Cole Haley before she was taken to Memphis, where she later died in a hospital.

Champion would not comment on the name.

Ben Chambers said he doesn't have any theories on who might have killed his daughter, and that it frustrates and upsets him.

"I didn't even know she had any enemies. To the person that done this: They're coming for you. They're working day and night, day and night, away from their own families," he said.

"People I work with that usually take time off at this time of year to be with their family or go deer hunting, now they're not doing that because they have to find this evil person. This hasn't just messed up my life, it's messed up everyone's life."

Chambers works for the Sheriff's Office maintenance department.

He also had a message for the people who have brought messages of support.

"I just want to thank people for what they've done, and their prayers, and the passion they've got for me and my family," he said.

A family friend created a GoFundMe page to raise money to help the Chambers family with expenses. To date, they have raised $16,150 toward the $18,000 goal.

Chambers said he's also falling back on his faith in God. He said it's hard, day-to-day, but it gets him through to believe there's a bigger picture.

"It's hard to believe this is for a reason," he said. "But I know something good has to come out of this. I know the Lord has some plan for something. It's the whole community, the whole world coming together. I believe something good has to end up coming from this."

Apel also reports for The (Jackson, Miss.) Clarion-Ledger.


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