No criminal charges will be filed in the death of Lynchburg teenager Jamisha Gilbert.
Gilbert died of hypothermia and her death has been ruled as an accident, according to a report released Thursday by the Lynchburg Commonwealth’s Attorney. Commonwealth's Attorney Michael Doucette said that smoking marijuana also likely contributed to her death.
Gilbert, 18, got into an accident on November 29 on Concord Turnpike. The trauma of the car accident and the marijuana in her system caused Gilbert to act irrationally, the commonwealth’s attorney said. She wasn't found until a few days later.
After the accident Gilbert ran about two miles before becoming entangled in a briar patch. Investigators found pieces of her clothing on the ground between the scene of the accident and the heavily wooded area near Pleasant Valley Road and Route 460.
Surveillance cameras from a waste water treatment plant caught her running away from downtown Lynchburg. The medical examiner believes the marijuana she smoked caused her to run and take her clothes off.
Her body was later found in the briar patch with hundreds of scratches on it. The area was so heavily wooded that investigators had to use chainsaws to get to the body.
Doucette said it was tough breaking the news to Gilbert's mother.
"I think she realized that this is probably the best thing to do, to have this dialogue with the community and especially in the school so that young folks can make informed decisions," Doucette said.
Doucette hopes people will understand the dangers of illegal substances.
"There are instances, and in Jamisha Gilbert's case being one of them, where because of this combination with the use of marijuana along with the psychoactive affect that it can have not always, but can have, it's something that needs to be discussed," Doucette said.
DNA results confirm that Gilbert was driving the car when it crashed. Her mom told investigators that Jamisha had been acting “weird” after she started dating a man. Her mom also said that Gilbert was known to act “crazy” when she smoked marijuana.
Police also recovered a notebook at the scene of the accident that belonged to Gilbert. She wrote her personal feelings about marijuana in the notebook, according to the commonwealth’s attorney.
The three people who were smoking marijuana with Gilbert will not face any charges.