A grand jury handed down an indictment Tuesday in the burning death of Mississippi teen Jessica Chambers. Quinton Tellis was charged in her death.
The 27-year-old from Courtland, Miss., is currently jailed in Louisiana on unrelated charges.
Chambers, 19, was found burned alive on a Panola County backroad in 2014. Her murder attracted international outcry because it was so vicious and as time passed with no arrest, a mountain of rumors accumulated.
Residents in Panola County were happy to see a big break in the case.
“I think it’s time,” Catherine Black said. "The whole community is ready to put it to a close.”
Chambers was alive when first responders found her but she died hours later.
For more than a year, the case remain unsolved and people allowed rumors to spread about a possible motive or who might have been involved.
“In a small town," Batesville resident Cassidy Logan said. "In a close-knit community like this, I thought people who knew would come forward quicker."
The prosecutor and investigators finally collected enough evidence to take the case to a grand jury recently, and an indictment was handed down.
One police officer, who did not want to be identified, said Tellis claimed to be part of a gang and left Panola County shortly after Chambers' murder.
According to arrest records, police apprehended Tellis in August 2015 for unlawful use of an access card. Police said he used a stolen Chase Bank debit card on three different occasions.
That card belonged to a homicide victim but Tellis has not been charged in that individual’s death as of Tuesday.
He was also charged with drug possession, and he was listed as being on probation in Mississippi.
Panola County residents said they want to hear what investigators have uncovered. They will get the chance to tomorrow. District Attorney John Champion will hold a news conference to discuss the investigation and the indictment Wednesday at 10:30 a.m.
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