Just hours into the new year, Army drill sergeant Jessica Mitchell was killed in her car, which was stopped on a busy Texas highway

By KC Baker
January 04, 2021 11:50 AM
Advertisement
Jessica Mitchell
| Credit: US Army

An Army drill sergeant was found shot to death in her car on a Texas highway on New Year’s Day, and authorities are searching for her killer.

At 2 a.m. on Friday, just hours into the new year, San Antonio police responded to a call about a stranded car on Interstate 10, the San Antonio Police Department says in a statement.

Officers found a white Dodge Challenger stopped on the highway with multiple gunshots in the driver's side door and window — and a victim inside.

“Officers opened the vehicle door and checked for a pulse on the female victim, who appeared to have been shot multiple times,” say police in the statement.

The victim, identified as Drill Sergeant Jessica Mitchell, 30, was taken to University Hospital where she was pronounced dead at about 3 a.m., according to a release from the U.S. Air Force Joint Base in San Antonio.

Mitchell was on holiday leave at the time of her death, the JBSA says in the release.

She leaves behind a 10-year-old son, according to her childhood friend, Francesca Toby, News4SA reports.

She had sustained multiple gunshot wounds, according to the JBSA.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

As the San Antonio Police Department and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division investigate the shooting, Mitchell’s family, friends and colleagues are struggling to come to terms with her death.

"Why would anybody want to do this," Mitchell's sister, Ashely Mitchell, said, News4SA reports. “Why, why, why, why? Why? Why do people do such heinous acts of crime for no reason?"

Just three years ago, Mitchell’s brother, Justice Mitchell, was shot and killed at age 18, News4SA reports.

"It's heartbreaking because what this did is reopen the wound and made it worse," her father, Mayo Mitchell, told the outlet. "It is hard when you lose one child from murder. But it's even harder when you lose two of your children from murder."

'She had worked so hard for this'

A staff sergeant, Mitchell was a dental specialist assigned to the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston since August 2019, the JBSA says in the release.

Before that, she worked at a JBSA dental clinic, starting in October 2017.

“We are devastated by the tragic loss of Drill Sergeant Jessica Mitchell,” Mitchell’s commanding officer, MEDCoE Commanding General Maj. Gen. Dennis LeMaster said, according to the release.

“Our sincere condolences go out to her family and friends,” he said. “We are focused on supporting Drill Sergeant Mitchell’s family as well as her soldiers during this extremely difficult time.”

Mitchell had just become a drill sergeant, Toby said, News 4SA reports.

That “was just posted on her Facebook page not that long ago, how she had worked so hard for this," she said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the SAPD Homicide Department at 210-207-7635.