No Suspect, Too Many Rumors, in Burning Death

Store clerk, who isn't a suspect, has to leave state after Internet threats
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2015 1:40 PM CST
No Suspect, Too Many Rumors, in Burning Death
A family photo of victim Jessica Chambers.   (AP Photo/Chambers-Prince Famili, File)

Police in tiny Courtland, Miss., still don't have a suspect in the horrific burning death of teenager Jessica Chambers in December, which is bringing out Internet sleuths in droves. Store clerk Ali Alsanai, for example, was quoted in newspaper stories explaining how he spoke to Chambers shortly before her murder, and now he's been forced to leave the state for an undisclosed location, reports USA Today. Bloggers have accused him of being everything from an Islamic terrorist to a member of a violent gang, but the local DA says that Alsanai is not a suspect and has been cooperative from the start. "We have what we call little Facebook detectives doing this theory and that theory and that theory, and they're not getting nowhere with that," says a friend of the Chambers family.

The Crime Stoppers reward in the case has risen to $54,000, reports MyFox 13, but the increased money hasn't helped so far. The Clarion-Ledger, meanwhile, reports that when author Linda Oliver spoke in the area last fall at a forum with the theme, "Everyone Has a Story," Chambers approached her. "She said, 'I need to write my book, you will help me?' and I said, 'Yes I will.' She said, 'I have a story that needs to be told. The world needs to hear my story. I need to get my story out there.' And I said, 'We will do that my friend, we will do that.'" Oliver says she planned to learn more on a return trip this spring. (More Mississippi stories.)

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