Friend of slain ex-Mississippi rep says she was 'on the verge of uncovering something very bad' about her sister-in-law's death at burnt out trailer before she was killed - as suspect is arrested for arson but NOT murder

 A friend of the former Mississippi lawmaker who was shot fatally shot on the same property where her sister-in-law's body was found six months earlier has shared fears that she may have been killed because she was close to finding the truth about what happened to her relative.  

Ashley Henley was found murdered by a gunshot to the back of the head on June 13 near the burnt out trailer in Water Valley where her sister-in-law Kristina Jones' body had been discovered in a burnt out trailer on December 26.  

For months Ashley battled to prove that Jones had been murdered and accused police of botching the investigation - before the mystery took an insidious turn when she was killed while tending to the lawn at the property.  

Several of Ashley's loved ones have come forward to share their suspicions that her death was linked to her public campaign to figure out the truth about what happened to Jones. 

Among them is Mississippi Rep Dana Criswell, a friend and former colleague of Ashley's, who said she was ‘on the verge of uncovering something very bad’ about Jones' death before she was murdered. 

'Her words to me was, "They may kill me, but I’m not giving up. I’m going to find the truth,"' Criswell told the Daily Beast

His account came as police arrested a suspect - 43-year-old Billy Brooks - and charged him with arson for allegedly starting the fire that burned down the trailer in which Jones's body was found. 

However, Brooks, 42, is not being charged in Jones's death – which has not been declared a homicide. 

Jones's autopsy report described her body as 'charred,' but with no sign of suffocation from smoke, meaning that she may have already been dead when the fire started. 

Ashley Henley (pictured) was found shot dead around 10pm on June 13 in rural Yalobusha County, Mississippi
Ashley had been trying to prove that her sister-in-law Kristina Jones (pictured) had been murdered in December

Ashley Henley (left) was found shot dead around 10pm on June 13 in rural Yalobusha County, Mississippi.  She had been trying to prove that Kristina Jones (right) had been murdered

Jones' body was found inside this burnt out trailer on December 26, 2020. Ashley was found shot dead on the same property six months later

Jones' body was found inside this burnt out trailer on December 26, 2020. Ashley was found shot dead on the same property six months later 

Rep Dana Criswell (pictured), a friend and former colleague of Ashley's, said that she told him that she discovered information about Jones' death that could get her killed

Rep Dana Criswell (pictured), a friend and former colleague of Ashley's, said that she told him that she discovered information about Jones' death that could get her killed 

Brandon Henley, Jones's brother and Ashley's husband, told the Daily Beast that Brooks was Jones' ex-boyfriend and lived across the street from her. 

'My sister was a great person,' Brandon said. 'She had a great heart. She just couldn't get her priorities straight.' 

Brandon Henley, Ashley's wife and Kristina Jones' sister, said he believes they were killed by the same person

Brandon Henley, Ashley's wife and Kristina Jones' sister, said he believes they were killed by the same person

'She liked to have fun, she liked to party. She played the game, you know what I'm saying? She had men taking care of her, she was dating multiple men. My sister was not doing things she was supposed to be doing.' 

DailyMail.com reached out to the Yalobusha County Sheriff's Office and a representative said that they would be holding a press conference with more information on Monday afternoon, but decline to comment further.

Brooks is being held at the Yalobusha County Detention Center and could not be reached for comment.   

Ashley and Brandon Henley created a memorial at the site of the burned trailer, including a giant sign that reads, ‘I WAS MURDERED.’ 

Brandon said if law enforcement found out who killed his sister, then his wife would be alive today.

'I feel that if something would have been done sooner this would have never happened,' Henley told WJTV on Monday, a day after his wife was shot dead.  

Police haven't said if his wife and sister's deaths were related, but Brandon believes the suspect is the same killer.  

'I have my own theory and the police do too and he is a suspect and there was someone taken in for questioning apparently last night,' Brandon told WJTV, but didn't elaborate on who 'he' is.  

The Yalobusha County Sheriff's Office declined to comment and referred questions to the county prosecutor, who didn't return calls from DailyMail.com.  

The makeshift memorial for Kristina Jones, Brandon's sister, on the property where her body was found in December and Brandon's wife, Ashley, was killed this week

The makeshift memorial for Kristina Jones, Brandon's sister, on the property where her body was found in December and Brandon's wife, Ashley, was killed this week

Yalobusha County coroner Ronnie Stark told WMC-TV that Henley had been mowing grass

Yalobusha County coroner Ronnie Stark told WMC-TV that Henley had been mowing grass outside the burnt out trailer (pictured) where Jones was found dead 

Rep. found dead at the same property as her sister-in-law
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Ashley - a Republican who served in the state House from January 2016 to January 2020 - described a hostile run in with Yalobusha County deputies from the sheriff's office in an April 6 Facebook post. 

She said two deputies 'attempted to intimidate me' and 'threatened to arrest me for refusing to allow them to take my lawfully holstered, concealed firearm without probable cause.' 

'We have been silent long enough,' Ashley said in the Facebook post. 

'For the past three months my family has held ourselves close, grieving in secret, to cooperate with the requests of the Yalobusha County Sheriff's Department as they proclaimed to be working on the investigation into the murder of my sister-in-law, which occurred at approximately 1:30AM on December 26th, 2020. 

'We have been nice. We have cooperated. We have respected the process and been patient ... NOW, we demand answers. We will not be intimidated. We are not going away. We will not back down. We will not be silent any longer. My sister-in-law deserves #JUSTICE.'

In a May 24 Facebook entry, Ashley posted a picture of her sister-in-law's death certificate that listed the cause of death as 'unknown' and manner of death as 'undetermined.'

'ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE - My family waited 5 months for this?!' she wrote. 

Ashely's April 6 Facebook post and May 20 update

Ashely's April 6 Facebook post and May 20 update 

On June 13, Ashley is believed to have been cutting the lawn outside the burnt-out trailer when she was shot in the back of the head. 

During the Fox13 interview, Brandon vowed not to back down. 

'You don't go after women. You don't go after innocent people. It's disgusting, he told Fox13. 'You took a mother from a 15-year-old boy, a daughter, and another mother and then you're scared you are going to take someone else from another family.' 

Six months after burying his sister, Brandon is preparing final arrangements for his wife.  

Ashley's colleagues put together a memorial tribute on Facebook and set up a GoFundMe

Republican state Rep. Dan Eubanks of DeSoto County, Mississippi, who set up the online fundraiser, wrote in a Facebook post on Monday that he was heartbroken and angry about Henley's death. 

 'What an absolute loss to our state, county, me personally, and most importantly her dear family,' he said. 'Please pray for her husband and son and their extended family... and that God's justice will be served on those responsible.'

 The DeSoto County Republican Party honored Ashley in a Facebook post, calling her a 'dedicated public servant' and tagging Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch.  

Friend of slain ex-Mississippi rep says she was 'on the verge of uncovering something very bad' about her sister-in-law's death at burnt out trailer before she was killed - as suspect is arrested for arson but NOT murder Friend of slain ex-Mississippi rep says she was 'on the verge of uncovering something very bad' about her sister-in-law's death at burnt out trailer before she was killed - as suspect is arrested for arson but NOT murder Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:35 Rating: 5

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