Marianna, Arkansas death case spurs weekend remembrance event for crime victims

MARIANNA, Ark. -- "My son died. They did not investigate this case like they should. This is a hurting thing."

Frances Chambers' son Demond has become the force behind a movement in Marianna, Arkansas to get answers in a mysterious death.

"It's been eight long years that I have suffered. My family has suffered. We have no closure. We have nothing," she said.

Frances has been in the fight since her 36-year-old son was found dead in a ditch near their home in 2009 after he was reported missing.

She never believed the first autopsy that said he died of natural causes. She told WREG the family saw bruises, burns and trauma signs on his body.

She had his body exhumed and a second autopsy indicated signs of a homicide.

"The truth will prevail. The truth will prevail. That is what I am looking for," said Chambers.

Since then, Frances has been fighting to get a judge to take a new look at the case and getting the medical examiner to come to Marianna for a hearing.

With a new attorney by her side, the family has new hope.

"He had water on the brain and that caused him to have the seizure. That was what the original forensic pathologist concluded. But there was a lot of evidence to indicate the death was a homicide," said Attorney Greg Klebanoff who spoke to use via web cam from Fayetteville, Arkansas.

He is hoping to finally get the Chambers case in court, in light of a glaring omission in the original autopsy that were apparent in the photos of Demond's body after it was found.

"Based on everybody else's report that had viewed the body, there were obvious signs of injury on the body. And the first autopsy, even though the report, I believe, was eight pages long, made absolutely no acknowledgment these injuries existed at all," he said.

It's become a mission for a frustrated mother hoping for closure.

In the meantime, she is getting support, as well as offering it to others.

Saturday, Groups Fighting For Victims will hold a remembrance service for Demond and others like him.

"We are a hurting people. There are murders here in this town and nothing has been done about it," said Frances. "I am hoping it will shed a light that the other parents are waiting too. They have lost loved ones. They are still waiting for answers, just like I am."

Lee County Sheriff Ocie Banks is among those scheduled to speak.

"If there is something else out there, I hope that she can find it and get closure to this situation or incident. I am gonna do what I can to try to help her," said Sheriff Banks.

"All I really need, and I am depending on, is Dr. Okoye coming to Lee County," Frances told WREG.

She said she won't stop until her son's case ends up in court. It's the only way she feels her family will finally have justice.

"The truth will prevail and that is what I am looking for. I can't close the book on him. I have to pursue justice for him. I have to do that."

The Remembrance of Life event will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20th  at the Marianna Civic Center.

The City of Marianna said Demond's death was investigated, but since the Arkansas Medical Examiner declared he died of natural causes, there was nothing else to look into.