Thursday, authorities released new information in the suspicious death investigation of a Lynchburg teen. They've ruled the death of Jamisha Gilbert an accident and say she died from hypothermia.
A lengthy report unveiledThursday goes into graphic detail about what happened to the 18-year-old. Officials explain they're releasing all the information to send a message to other teens. That message comes almost five months to the day Jamisha Gilbert died.
"This does not have to happen to anyone else," said Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Doucette.
But, he believes, it could.
"Jamisha Gilbert was an 18-year-old recent high school graduate with the hopes of becoming an attorney, but whose life was ended after briefly smoking two to three marijuana joints," he described.
That's where things went bad for Jamisha Gilbert one night in November of last year. Authorities say Gilbert, who was upset about family issues, had smoked marijuana before crashing her car on Concord Turnpike.
She then ran from the accident scene, leaving a trail of her clothing. Surveillance video, which police revealed to give the effect of what happened, shows Gilbert running for hours in both directions.
"There's no evidence whatsoever that she was being chased on foot or being followed by a vehicle," Doucette explained.
She ultimately ended up just two miles from her car. We're told the temperatures in the area on November 28th and 29th dipped into the teens.
"The area where her body was discovered was in the middle of a briar patch and was so thickly covered that law enforcement was forced to use chainsaws," the commonwealth's attorney recalled.
An entry from the teen's diary says she realized "strange, dark secrets" in her head through the smoking of pot. The medical examiner was very clear in writing no other drugs were found in Gilbert's system. So, it does not appear the marijuana she smoked was laced with anything else.
"By releasing this report and exposing all the facts in this case it is our hope that local teenagers will understand and have a dialogue that smoking marijuana can exacerbate mental health issues and make rational people act completely irrationally," Doucette added.
He says Jamisha's mom is upset in the sense that her daughter is dead and nothing is happening to the boys she was with that night, but we're told after talking it over she realized this information and the larger message could not have been put out there if charges had been placed.
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