Sunday, June 9, 2019

Young woman found dead in woods by local hiker

Foul play suspected

Exterior of the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department buildingThe Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department has reported that the body of Jasmine Ledbetter, 19, of Oxford, was found in the woods off Highway 7 around dawn Sunday morning.

Mark Eldridge, a local hunter, made the gruesome discovery.

"That sure wasn't what I was expecting to find out there," Mr. Eldridge said. "I got the heck out of there and called 911."

The sheriff's department would not release any details about the circumstances but said the death is being investigated as a homicide.

"Evidence at the scene made it clear that this was not a natural death," said YCSD Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jones.

Jones declined to say whether any suspects had been identified but said the department is pursuing several leads.

Ms. Ledbetter was an assistant manager at Square Pizza, one of the restaurant's owners confirmed. Her coworkers were shocked to learn of her brutal death.

"I've known Jasmine for years," said co-owner Sox Jackson. "She's a real sweet girl, and we're sure going to miss her around here. I can't think why in the world anyone would want to hurt her."

She is survived by her mother, Brenda Ledbetter, and her father Kevin Ledbetter and stepmother Shannon Ledbetter, all of Yoknapatawpha County. None of the family members could be reached for comment.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

By Kemper Jones at 4:00 PM