Crime scene

DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders says it's one of the strangest cases he has ever seen, but based on evidence and toxicology results he stands by the official explanation of death by asphyxiation in the case involving a 37 year-old Horn Lake woman on June 2.

The lifeless body of Jessica Re'nee Johnson, 37, was found in a squatting position, hanged by her own shoelaces on a mailbox on a public street. She was discovered by a mailman delivering mail around 11 a.m. the morning of June 2.

Tall weeds obscured Johnson's body from view.

"Rigor mortis had set in and it appears she had been there since the early morning hours," Pounders said. "I don't know how many people had driven by the mailbox and not seen her. The weeds were so tall."

It's the longstanding policy of the DeSoto Times-Tribune that the newspaper does not report details of suicides unless they occur in a public setting.

She apparently hanged herself following an alleged argument with her boyfriend, according to authorities.

The boyfriend has been questioned along with others in the case but both Horn Lake authorities and Pounders believe that Johnson died by her own hand.

A toxicology report came back showing high levels of methamphetamine and Xanax in her system, according to Pounders.

The final written report could take several months.

"Horn Lake Police have investigated this death in great detail," said Pounders, who has served as coroner for nearly three and a half decades. "I've talked to the Crime Lab and she died from asphyxiation," Pounders said. "Horn Lake Police have not been able to find anything other than she hanged herself."

Pounders did not want to comment further on the case.

Johnson's shoes were discovered on the driveway and it appears she walked through the grass and found her way to the mailbox, where she removed her shoelaces and then tied them around her neck and to the mailbox.

Authorities were told she had threatened suicide before.

Yet, the unusual way in which she died has caused family members to question the official explanation.

Family members have contacted national news outlets about the case.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

(5) comments

Comment deleted.
Danita Bambei

Jeff Pounders should retire if this is his final answer, he is wrong, this has been his hypothetical, unprofessional conclusion since Jessica's death. The HLPD and Jeff Pounders are colluding but Justice will prevail. This story is almost 2 months old based on what has been shared by this story, it could've been reported two days after Jessica's death just as easily considering how ill informed and poorly written it is. Drugs found in the toxicology report are not relevant to Jessica's murder, and it is easy to understand why Pounders would conveniently chose to share unrelated information now...cya. That's right cya. There is no way that Jessica hung herself with her own shoe strings from a 38 inch mailbox . This is not The End of Jessica's story ... # justiceforJessica.

Whaaat

"Johnson's shoes were discovered on the driveway and it appears she walked through the grass and found her way to the mailbox, where she removed her shoelaces and then tied them around her neck and to the mailbox."

If her shoes were found on the driveway, and she trekked thru the grass, she removed the shoestrings first, correct?
Considering the mailbox isn't near the driveway like the majority's are, then that paragraph doesn't make sense.
Also, the suicide ruling doesn't explain the obvious bruising on the wrist we can all see in one picture that was posted. It doesn't explain the marks on her hand. It doesn't explain the shoe print on her arm. Lastly, is anyone questioning where the drugs in her system came from?

southavengrrl

Also, she wasn't "squatting" as this article says, she was on her knees with her legs under her. It's just sad.

southavengrrl

I completely disagree with that assessment. When you find out the fact that her "boyfriend" had an ex who also died suspiciously, and that he currently has a warrant out for his arrest in TN, it seems suspect. Also, how could she pass like that when her body weight was leaning on the pole and not held up by the strings? Why is her purse placed perfectly between her knees and there is no sign of a natural struggle from her body fighting from not being able to breathe? She is still leaning against a pole. How did she suddenly disappear from a house where there was AT LEAST 1 other person, since I read in another story that she and her boyfriend were visiting friends at this house, and no one noticed that after an argument with her boyfriend, she was missing until 11am? No one even wondered where she went? or checked on her to see if she was okay after the argument? especially if she had a history of being suicidal? Has her boyfriend spoken out about this tragedy or given a statement? Is he just walking around free or what? What is the explanation for all the weird marks on her arm that appear to be a shoeprint or some sort of bondage? It just seem too suspect. Even if she did overdose from drugs or something and then was moved to this staged location, her family at least deserves to know what happened. Also, has it been considered that could have actually be the cause of death, but that doesn't necessarily mean it happened at the mailbox and with shoelaces. When you actually see the picture of it (posted on the Huffington post site), it just looks staged.

Erin Rebel

Your questions certainly deserve answers.

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