Jade Winston was only 18 years-old when she was found murdered inside her Carrier Mills, Illinois residence on August 17th, 2007. A neighbor called Saline County police shortly before 11pm that evening to report hearing a gunshot coming from Jade's apartment. Officers were sent to the scene, where they found Jade in a pool of blood with a single gunshot wound to the head. A 9mm semi-automatic pistol was found under her left leg. The clip from the gun was found in her left hand. Jade's death was subsequently labeled as a homicide--though it appeared that the scene might have been staged to make it look like a suicide.
Investigators immediately began searching for Jade's killer. Meanwhile, Jade's family barely had any time to grieve before another tragedy struck: Jade's 22 year-old brother, Jerome Mitchell, was killed in a car accident just two day later. As investigators were checking out the alibis and questioning people about Jade's death, her loved ones were mourning the loss of two beloved family members.
|Jerome Mitchell and Jade Winston (image source: KFVS12 News)|
Early reports about Jade's murder investigation stated that detectives received help from several agencies and had looked into numerous potential persons of interest, but unfortunately they were unable to officially label anyone as a suspect. Investigators reportedly looked into hearsay evidence about an acquaintance of Jade's making threatening phone calls to her just two weeks before her death. The threatening calls were allegedly centered around jealousy involving a boyfriend. However, the acquaintance has never been publicly identified and investigators were unable to materialize any evidence from the alleged phone calls.
Other than that, very little information about the case was released to the public. Then, three years after Jade's murder, her aunt April Scales was quoted in an article that provided a few more details. In the article, April said that she and numerous other family members believe that the deaths of Jade and Jerome are connected. On the night of Jerome's car accident, he reportedly left his house to confront someone about Jade's murder. April explained, "[Jerome] was going to pursue those or someone responsible for Jade's death. I believe he was run off the road."
It is unclear who, exactly, Jerome went to confront that night. There was a passenger who was in the car with Jerome at the time of the accident. The passenger survived the accident, but he told investigators that he did not remember how or why the accident occurred. Oddly, investigators also told April that this man and Jerome apparently did not know each other prior to that night. The man told investigators that he was walking around Harrisburg when Jerome picked him up. The accident happened shortly thereafter.
Investigators have not stated whether or not they believe Jade's murder and Jerome's death are connected. Jade's case remains opened and unsolved. If you have any information that could lead to Jade's killer, please go here to submit an anonymous tip.