An entire Mississippi community is on high alert in the hope of finding a missing college student. The family has requested the assistance of local police authorities in the search for the 20-year-old, who has been missing for more than a week.
The FBI’s Oxford Field Office and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office have joined the Oxford Police Department and Ole Miss’s University Police Department in their search for Jimmie “Jay” Lee III, a student at the 178-year-old University of Mississippi.
According to WLBT, the FBI and the Attorney General’s Office have pledged to provide “extra resources and help when needed” to the investigation into his abduction.
Lee was last spotted leaving Campus Walks Apartment around 5:58 a.m. on Friday, July 8. According to witnesses, he was wearing a silver robe or housecoat, a gold sleeping cap, and gray slippers when he left the residence, according to the Clarion Ledger.
Lee’s family last communicated with him around 2 a.m., hours before he vanished. He texted the grandmother a birthday greeting.
Lee, a public policy major and community service champion, missed his own community outreach activation later that evening, a baby formula donation drive he organized as part of his internship with the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services in Lafayette County.
Later that night, at 8:28 p.m., an incident report was submitted to UMPD.
Officer John Boyd went to Lee’s apartment that evening to conduct a welfare check, but he noted “negative contact.”
All across town, red and white posters, Lee’s family, and local volunteers begged for his safe return. To raise notice about the young man, bulletins have been packed in cars and affixed throughout the town’s Square or taped inside Jackson Avenue bus stations.
Law authorities obtained further camera footage on Tuesday, which is currently being evaluated in the hopes that some evidence will lead to his location.
The young man, who looks to be gender-fluid in some photos, is believed to have black and blond hair, and brown eyes, is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs about 120 pounds.
“On Monday, July 11, Lee’s vehicle was found by a local towing company that had towed the automobile from the Molly Barr Trails apartment complex on Friday afternoon,” an OPD officer said.
A forensics team from the state’s crime laboratory is now examining the vehicle for clues.
The automobile was removed from the Molly Barr Trails apartments because police believe Jay Lee was visiting someone there before going missing.
The OPD interviewed “several” community members and applied for “about a dozen” search warrants, which it “executed on both physical and digital entities.”
Jay Lee’s relatives canvassed the neighboring forests in search of traces of their loved ones. According to sister Tayla Carey, they strolled on and off the routes and put posters at major trail markers.
“We basically went on a full-on stroll through the woods chanting his name,” Carey explained.
The family is also going over the OPD’s actions, seeking anything related to Lee that police may or may not pick up on, according to the sister.
“I know what earrings he wears, what bling he wears,” the sister said.
The search has now stretched beyond Oxford and into neighboring regions such as Jackson, his hometown, and Hattiesburg.
Lee’s father, Jimmie Lee Jr., has invited the community to join the search for his son’, asking if anyone has any information.
“I would want to thank my family and friends in the Jackson community for your efforts to assist me to find my son,” he said in a news release.
“I’d also want to thank the Oxford Police for their assistance.” “I want everyone to know that my son is a hard worker,” he said, revealing specifics about some of his son’s interests. “My son was working on a project to distribute newborn formula to needy children.” My son, whether Black or White, would find a way to help if he recognized a need.”
Robyn Tannehill, the mayor of Oxford, expressed her hope that “he is found.”
“I’ve met him a number of times when I’ve talked on campus,” the mayor said of the student who asked to shadow or intern at City Hall. “He’s one of the nicest people I’ve met on campus.” He was enthusiastic about what was going on in the city and about establishing his resume. I’m hoping he’s found.”
His sister has used her Facebook profile to disseminate the information. “Y’all PLEASE HELP US FIND MY BROTHER PLEASE SHARE,” Carey wrote.
Jay Lee utilized his voice to assist others, and now many others want to assist him. Many people on social media are digitally bullhorning the notice about Jay Lee’s disappearance using the hashtag #JayLee.
“Praying for comfort and strength for Jaylee, friends, and family, especially Jay’s sister, Tayla Carey,” stated activist Keith Antonio Bankston, an advocate for the Black LGBT community in the area.
“Lee was a cherished member and entertainer here in our Jackson LGBT Community,” Bankston noted.
He was a daring young guy who ran for homecoming king at the university last year.
According to the Daily Mississippian, he ran on a platform of “self-love and living your truth.”
During his campaign, he praised the university, stating, “Ole Miss embraces so many various cultures and origins,” but he believes it can do more to create a more diverse and inclusive environment.”
CrimeStoppers has offered $1,000 to anyone who can help find Lee. With their contribution, Lee’s family raised the total incentive to $6,000.
Call the Oxford Police Department at (662) 232-2400, University Police at (662) 915-7234, or Crime Stoppers at (662) 234-8477 if you have any information. Social media can also be used to share information and tips: Twitter: @OxfordPolice or @OleMissPolice. Facebook: @OxfordMSPolice or @OleMissPolice.