On April 30, 2012, Jashayla Hopson, a 6-year-old girl from Kemper County, Mississippi, was taken from her school in a plot orchestrated by a relative and former teacher, Jesse Mae Brown Pollard.
The motives behind the crime were deeply rooted in a property dispute, with Pollard seeking to regain possession of a piece of land and a portable storage shed that had been lost to foreclosure and purchased by the child's mother at an auction. Pollard, armed with a plan, tape, and a 20-foot-long dog leash cable, held Jashayla for ransom, demanding the return of her property in exchange for the child's safe return.
As authorities launched a massive manhunt to find the missing child, the community of Kemper County anxiously awaited any updates on Jashayla's whereabouts. Tips poured in, and a statewide Amber Alert was issued, but for the first day, there was no sign of the kidnapper or the child. The tension and uncertainty only heightened as the search went on.
Just as authorities were closing in on the kidnapper, Jashayla was found unharmed, dropped off in the rain near a stranger's mobile home. Jesse Mae Pollard was arrested along with five others, most of them related to each other, including a school secretary who was charged with aiding in the crime. Her own son, Devonta Pollard, who was a basketball player on scholarship at the University of Alabama, testified that his mother was the mastermind behind the plot.
The Jesse Pollard kidnapping case is a chilling reminder of the risks involved in buying distressed property. It illustrates how losing a property to foreclosure can push a person to desperate measures and highlights the importance for real estate agents to advise clients accordingly. It serves as a rare but poignant reminder of the potential dangers that can arise from property disputes and the risks involved with purchasing distressed properties.
Do you have any property dispute stories to share? Sound off in the comments or share it with your colleagues in an upcoming CE class!
"Jesse Pollard convicted of kidnapping girl, 6." Tuscaloosa News, 22 Nov 2013