A Mississippi man whose severed head and burned body were found in separate locations was believed to be alive at the time of his beheading.
Local authorities are investigating the death by mutilation of Jeremy Jerome Jackson of Jackson, Mississippi, after his head was found sitting on the front porch of his home. His body, headless and badly burned, was found in nearby bushes, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
After Jackson's slaying followed a broad-daylight murder of a barbershop owner, Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance contacted the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and officials from Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to help solve the two cases.
"Obviously the manner in which these two incidents have occurred, personally I found to be shocking, bizarre, brutal, unacceptable to the city of Jackson and its citizens," Vance said. "Over the weekend we formulated plans on how we're going to solve these particular murders."
Officials believe Jackson's murder and mutilation could be gang-related, as Mexican drug cartels are known to operate in the area. They believe the decapitation to be not only a calling card of the notorious MS-13 gang, but also a signal to the city and its residents of its presence.
"The activity we've seen, we don't know if it's drug related. However, it's consistent with the violence that occurs with cartels," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Daniel Comeaux. "If you're looking for consistencies, yes, they are there ... In the upcoming days we'll know more."
WLOX reports that the autopsy found Jackson to be alive at the time of his beheading. He suffered a non-lethal gunshot wound to the leg before being beheaded and burned.
"From my speculation, it was a message sent from somebody or to the city because you just don't kill somebody in the bushes then take their head and put it on display," said Jeremy Jackson's brother Johnny. "They displayed him and you could ride down the street and see it on the step. To me, it was a message sent to somebody."
Johnny said Jeremy and his three children lived with him, and Jeremy often stayed home taking care of his children. Johnny also noted that his brother was a 3.0 student at Jackson State University and was pursuing his master's degree.
"There are gaping wounds in the psyche of this city, people are wondering what in the world has happened to Jackson, Mississippi, and it's up to us to try to begin to restore the confidence of the 170-plus thousand people who live here," Vance said, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
"We will use every resource at our disposal, including the media, to bring these cases to a close."