Crime Junkie Podcast’s ‘MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF: Jade Winston’ depicts the mysterious circumstances under which 18-year-old Jade Winston was found murdered inside her Mill Street residence in Carrier Mills, Illinois, in August 2007. Three days after Jade’s unexpected death, another tragic incident hit the Winston family when her brother died in a car crash, though some members believe the two happenings are interconnected. If you wish to learn more about the case, including how Jade died, we’ve your back. Let’s dive in then, shall we?
How Did Jade Winston Die?
Jade Marcella Winston was born to Ronald Winston and Mary Miller in Carrier Mill in Saline County, Illinois, on May 3, 1989. Richard Morgan, the superintendent of Jade’s high school, fondly described her as “an exceptional young person.” She was in her senior year at Carrier Mills High School and was known for her vibrant, cheerful, and friendly personality, always wearing a warm smile. Jade was a multi-talented student who actively participated in various extracurricular activities.
She excelled in volleyball and softball, showcased her skills as a dancer, and contributed her spirit to the cheerleading squad. Additionally, she was actively engaged in several school clubs. Jade’s cheerleading coach characterized her as a “spirited and beloved individual,” capturing the affection she garnered from everyone around her. At the time of her tragic murder in August 2007, Jade, 18, resided on Mill Street in Carrier Mills, sharing a home with her sister and a close friend.
Hence, it was shocking when the teen Arby’s employee was found deceased in her flat by Saline County Sheriff’s deputies after receiving a 911 call around 10:55 pm on August 17. The officers peered through the window. He could only see the legs of a female lying on the floor. Upon entering the home, the officer saw the female, who would be identified as Jade, lying on the floor in a pool of blood. There was a 9mm semi-automatic handgun under her left leg and ammunition to the gun in her left hand.
Who Killed Jade Winston?
Jerome Mitchell, Jade’s brother, tragically lost his life in a car accident while driving in Harrisburg on August 19, 2007. A surviving passenger in the accident, who could not recall the specifics of the crash or its cause, informed the police that he had no prior acquaintance with Jerome and had only met him shortly before the accident occurred. Family members hold the belief that Jerome may have been en route to confront an individual they suspect to be responsible for Jade’s death.
April Scales, Winton’s aunt, expressed, “My nephew (Jerome) was going to pursue those or someone responsible for Jade’s death. I believed he was run off the road,” as reported by the Southern Illinoisan. Mary Miller, Jade’s mother, also shared her conviction with the news outlet, believing that her children’s deaths are interconnected, and she concluded, “It’s in God’s hands now.” Although Jade’s death wasn’t initially classified as a homicide, it took several months for investigators to make a determination.
During this time, they established a tip line, created a Myspace page for information sharing, and appealed to the public for any leads. Throughout the investigative process, authorities conducted numerous interviews with dozens of individuals, but unfortunately, none of these interviews yielded any significant leads. On January 31, 2008, a coroner’s inquest convened at the Saline County Courthouse. During this proceeding, they presented evidence to a six-person jury, tasked with determining the nature of Jade’s death — whether it was a suicide, homicide, accident, natural, or undetermined.
Testimonies were provided by a crime scene specialist, the pathologist who conducted the autopsy, and Officer Fort, all of whom expressed their belief that Jade was the victim of a homicide. One of the initial investigators, who responded to the crime scene, emphasized that he ruled out suicide upon observing Jade’s body, stating, “It was just an odd position to be in if you were to shoot yourself.” Furthermore, it was revealed that the firearm used in Jade’s killing had been reported stolen from Raleigh, Illinois, several months prior to her tragic death.
In the initial stages of the investigation, the police received a handful of leads, but unfortunately, none of them yielded substantial results. Among these leads was a rumor suggesting that Jade had received death threats from a former partner two weeks prior to her tragic demise, but this lead eventually reached a dead end. Law enforcement officials disclosed that they conducted interviews with more than 70 individuals and administered polygraph tests to six people; however, none of these efforts led to the identification of a suspect.
As of now, the authorities have neither confirmed nor denied any potential connection between Jade’s and Jerome’s deaths. Jade’s homicide remains unsolved, and it continues to be an active investigation. If anyone has information regarding Jade’s case, please contact the Carrier Mills Police Department at (618) 994-4411 or the Saline County Sheriff’s Office at (618) 252-8661.