Mystery Deepens in Case of Burned Mississippi Teen Jessica Chambers as Police Call for Witnesses

PHOTO: This undated photograph released by the families of Jessica Chambers and her sister Amanda Prince shows Jessica Chambers in Courtland, Miss. PlayAP
WATCH Fatal Burn Victim Shown in Gas Station Surveillance Video

Officials say that they are struggling to find the person responsible for attacking 19-year-old Jessica Chambers, who was burned to death in rural Mississippi, because there is not a lot of “street talk” about the case.

"We're at the point where we are talking to people right now and there are a lot of people we are talking to," Panola County District Attorney John Champion said at a news conference this afternoon.

"There’s just not a lot of street talk out there about who may or may not have done this," he said.

Chambers was found barely alive with 98 percent of her body covered in burns Saturday night around 9 p.m. and police say they are are trying to piece together her final hours. Shortly after being airlifted to a nearby hospital, she died.

PHOTO: A gas station and convenience store where, according to surveillance video, Jessica Chambers visited before she was found severely burned along the side of a Mississippi road, Dec. 10, 2014, in Courtland, Miss. AP
A gas station and convenience store where, according to surveillance video, Jessica Chambers visited before she was found severely burned along the side of a Mississippi road, Dec. 10, 2014, in Courtland, Miss.

County Sheriff Dennis Darby said today that many of the details are still being worked out by the crime lab, including the question of whether an accelerant was used to start the fire.

“We're definitely treating this as an arson. We're trying to determine through lab results what kind of arson,” Champion said.

They added that they have been able to determine that the attacker likely got in the car with her, although they still do not have an official suspect or person of interest.

“My heart goes out to the family,” Sheriff Darby said at today’s news conference. “It’s personal because I know them personally and I have two daughters of my own.”

Police are still digging through her phone records and witness statements, Panola County Assistant District Attorney Jay Hale told WAPT.

"We're still looking into certain individuals," Hale told the station. "We've talked to numerous individuals who could potentially become suspects."

The footage from the gas station-convenience store in Courtland, Mississippi, shows Chambers stopping for gas at around 6:30 p.m., about 90 minutes before she was found severely burned.

The video shows her going toward the gas pump but then turning, waving to say hello to someone and walking out of the frame.

Gas station attendant Ali Fadhel told The Associated Press he knew Chambers because she stopped in regularly for $5 worth of gas. When she filled up Saturday, however, she purchased $14 of fuel, he said.

"I asked her, 'Why are you putting so much gas?' She said, 'I'm going somewhere,'" Fadhel told the AP, adding that that he thought she seemed fine.

"If she knew she had a problem with somebody, she would have told me," Fadhel added.

PHOTO: Yellow crime scene tape marks the location where 19-year-old Jessica Chambers was found severely burned, Dec. 10, 2014 in Courtland, Miss. AP
Yellow crime scene tape marks the location where 19-year-old Jessica Chambers was found severely burned, Dec. 10, 2014 in Courtland, Miss.

ABC affiliate WAPT-TV in Jackson reported that investigators believe she may have been headed to a party, but no further details about the party have been released.

Her father, Ben Chambers, described the scene that unfolded when she was found by first responders.

"When the fire department got there, she was walking down the road on fire," her father, Ben Chambers, told station WTOC-TV in Savannah, Georgia. "Only part of her body that wasn't burned was the bottom of her feet."

Her father also told the station that she told emergency responders the identity of her attacker, but the district attorney investigating the case has not said anything about suspects.

"She was able to communicate but it was difficult," county ADA Hale told The Associated Press.