Murder of Jade Winston remains a tragic mystery: Crime Junkie investigates

Jade Winston smiling
Jade Winston’s murder has remained a mystery for 16 years. Pic credit: Family pic

Crime Junkie is investigating the mysterious and unsolved murder of Jade Winston, a teenager from the small town of Carrier Mills in Saline County, Illinois, who was shot dead in 2007.

On the evening of August 17, 2007, a neighbor of Jade’s reported hearing a gunshot. The police found 18-year-old Jade lying in a large pool of blood on the floor of the house she shared with her sister, Jana Mitchell. She had been shot in the head.

Jade’s left hand was holding a clip from a 9mm semi-automatic pistol, and the firearm was found under her left leg. The weapon had been stolen in Raleigh several months previously.

The case was shrouded in confusion from the very start. At the scene, a sheriff’s deputy declared the gunshot a self-inflicted wound, though they could not determine if it was suicide or accidental.

However, the then Chief Deputy arrived at the house and, within three minutes, declared Jade’s death a homicide. A coroner appeared to clear up the confusion after conducting an autopsy and reporting her death a homicide.

But there have always been some doubts that it is murder.

Jade Winston family still search for answers about her death

Jade’s family has never doubted that she was murdered. Mitchell blames the Saline County Sheriff’s Department for making mistakes in the beginning. She said, “Saline County needs to be held accountable for the mistakes that they made, and the person that did murder Jade needs to be brought to justice.”

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Mitchell also claimed she doesn’t fully trust the police working the case: “I don’t trust them to go over her case if they’re looking at it as a suicide or accidental death.”

Saline County Sheriff Whipper Johnson said in 2022 that the case is still open, and they are willing to look at any new information. Unfortunately, Johnson said no further information has been made available to them, and nobody has come forward.

Johnson did admit that a lack of experience in homicide cases combined with over-zealousness may have hampered the initial investigation.

The cops did consult Illinois State Police crime-scene technicians and the FBI, but so far, all law enforcement agencies remain baffled about what happened to Jade Winston.

Jade Winston family struck with multiple tragedies

Jade’s family has described her as someone everybody got along with, and they don’t understand why anyone would want to kill her. She had been on the Carrier Mills High School dance team and was due to start her senior year in a couple of weeks.

The family suffered yet another tragedy just 27 hours after Jade’s murder when her brother, 22-year-old Jerome Mitchell, died in a car crash. Jana Mitchell suspects the stress of Jade’s murder contributed to the auto wreck.

MYSTERIOUS DEATH: Jade Winston is available to download now at Crime Junkie.

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