“Eric did this to me,” said burn victim Jessica Chambers before she died in December 2014. The 19-year-old Mississippi cheerleader was found wandering by the side of a road after someone set her on fire near her car in Panola County.
Her killer squirted lighter fluid down her throat before she was set ablaze. Despite naming her attacker, no arrest was ever made.
Surveillance video from a nearby convenience station shows her final moments when she stopped to fill up her car.
The case frustrated Internet sleuths on Websleuths.com, who thought they knew who “Eric” was — a hardened criminal with a long rap sheet who was well known to police. But without hard evidence, they couldn’t pin Jessica’s death on him.
Interest in the Jessica Chambers case increased whenever the Grenada County Sheriff’s Dept. made an arrest of a person of interest.
Numerous theories were floated by the Internet sleuths, including a conspiracy video that implicated local police and the convenience store employees.
Even Chambers’ boyfriend, who is black, was considered a prime suspect in the case that seemed destined for the cold case files.
But that changed this week when police identified 27-year-old Quinton Verdell Tellis as a suspect in the investigation.
Tellis was arrested in Louisiana on credit card theft charges.
It will take up to 6 weeks to extradite Tellis to Mississippi. District Attorney John Champion thanked “technological data” for helping them find a suspect.
“This has been the most unusual case that I’ve ever dealt with, the nature of how she died was very brutal and very horrendous,” Champion said at a press conference on Sunday.