One year later: Where is Jay Lee?

Jimmie ‘Jay’ Lee, a 20-year-old University of Mississippi student, disappeared on Friday, July 8, 2022. Courtesy: Oxford Police Department

On Saturday, July 8th, Lee Jay, a prominent member of the queer community at the University of Mississippi and a graduate student in the class of 2022, was seen leaving his home at Apartments Walk Campus in Oxford.

This is the recorded location of Lee’s phone. Herrington messaged Lee on July 8 at 6:04 a.M., Suggesting that the last person to see Lee was Timothy Sheldon Herrington. Prosecutors have forensic digital evidence that suggests Lee and Timothy Sheldon Herrington, a former Miss Ole student, shared a sexual relationship.

Charged with first-degree murder, Herrington, the primary person of interest in the investigation, has been granted bail following the initiation of a lawsuit against Lafayette County claiming false incarceration in December 2022.

Although a trial date has not been set yet, Steve Jubera, the Assistant District Attorney, has been leading the case and it is likely that it will happen early next year.

“We are seeking to establish a trial date in the beginning of 2024,” Jubera stated.

Lee’s body has not been found yet. There have been no updates on his whereabouts from the Oxford Police Department or any other local law enforcement agencies since July 2022.

When discussing trials, Jubera emphasized the high success rate of homicides where no body is found. It is feasible to obtain a guilty verdict, even if there are no physical remains.

Jubera stated, “If you can demonstrate those statistics, you are often able to get the case to trial and successfully prosecute it.”

As per Tad DiBiase, a previous assistant U.S. Attorney and expert in homicides where no body is found, approximately 70% of the 576 murder cases in U.S. History without a corpse have led to convictions.

Jubera also stressed the significance of locating Lee’s remains, irrespective of Herrington’s conviction.

Jubera stated, ‘We have never disregarded any lead. Those are all aspects that we are actively seeking. We aim to provide solace to the family. We strive to reunite him with his loved ones.’

Snapchat location data positioned Lee near Herrington’s residence at 6:12 am for the final time.

At 6:41 a.M., Herrington was subsequently observed purchasing adhesive tape at Walmart. Visual evidence was discovered of him acquiring a lengthy-handled spade and a cart from his parents’ residence and loading it into the rear of a container truck subsequent to the authorities conducting a search of Herrington’s parents’ dwelling in Grenada.

Jubera stated that the OPD carried out a comprehensive search for Lee, which they continue on a tip-by-tip basis.

He stated, “in relation to Jay’s remains, any additional information that has been provided, similar to any other information, will be thoroughly investigated, and if there are any additional leads that emerge, the authorities conducted a comprehensive search, evidently.”

Supporters of Lee remain unconvinced and have consistently demanded greater transparency regarding the inquiry into Lee’s vanishing.

OUTLaw is a group of LGBTQIA+ University of Mississippi law students that promotes for queer rights.

OUTLaw calls for more transparency regarding the prosecution of Herrington and Lee Jay, in relation to their efforts in the search for the organization mentioned on Instagram.

On March 22, during The Daily Mississippian podcast, Kayleigh Breisch, who is part of the Justice for Jay Lee activist organization, raised concerns about the search efforts conducted by law enforcement for Lee in “The Weekly Scoop”.

“We came to the realization that the officials in Oxford were not actively engaged in the search for Jay,” Breisch stated.

Rolando Fair, the Sheriff of Grenada County, wrote a letter to support Herrington for Tollison in the Gray Court Circuit County Lafayette. In the letter, Fair cited several potential conflicts of interest and also noted Breisch’s involvement.

I have known Timothy Sheldon, also known as Jr. Herrington, since he was a small child and he has never had any problems. Tina Herrington and Sheldon have been members of various organizations that have changed and helped the lives of many people.

A spokesperson from Justice for Jay Lee talked to The Daily Mississippian in July.

The Oxford Police Department affirms that they have not stopped looking for Lee Jay, who claims to be somewhere between Grenada and Lafayette counties, even after a year with no updates and missing hard for our community that they truly believe they are doing their best work.

The OPD refused to provide any comments regarding the investigation or the search for Lee’s remains.

The Daily Mississippian did not respond to Herrington’s request for comment. Kevin Horan, Herrington’s primary defense attorney, was declined comment by The Daily Mississippian.

In the podcast, Breisch mentioned that “in our community, officials are no longer willing to protect LGBT people to the same extent that other people would,” which has made the LGBT community in Oxford feel deeply unsafe because of it.

Breisch confirmed that Justice for Jay Lee will persist in organizing demonstrations and ignite conversations about the trial.

Breisch stated, “We are not simply going to push for a conviction and encourage the prosecution, but rather we are actually going to find a friend. We are not going to stop protesting.”