Group prayer, speeches, encouraging posters, music, bubbles and tea light candles – all to help illuminate Jay’s way home.
Organized by the Department of Social Work and the Associated Student Body, “Hope Rally for Jay Lee” gathered the Lafayette-Oxford-University community at the Circle on campus to support missing student Jimmie “Jay” Lee and his family in “thoughts and prayers” as they hope for his safe return.
“It’s our prayer that Jay Lee comes home safe and sound,” Lee’s parents wrote in a statement read by Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Charlotte Pegues.
The rally was held to show Lee’s family not only how much the community cares, but also how they are awaiting Lee’s arrival.
“Jay is still here and we’re just waiting for him to come home,” said Precious Thompson, Lee’s classmate.
Lee, 20, is a social work major at the university. He is a Jackson native and a graduate of Murrah High School. Lee is a Black male, who is described as being 5-feet, 7-inches tall, weighing 120 pounds, with black and blonde hair and brown eyes. In 2021, Lee was a candidate for homecoming king. He ran on a platform of “self-love and living your truth,” hoping to push the university on a more diverse and inclusive path.
Thirteen days ago, Lee was reported missing by his family after he didn’t show up to a baby formula donation drive that he organized as a part of his internship with the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services in Lafayette County.
Lee was last seen leaving Campus Walk Apartments in the early morning on July 8. He was wearing a silver robe or housecoat, gold cap and gray slippers. His car was found days later at a local towing company after being removed from the Molly Barr Trails Apartment complex in the afternoon on July 8.
According to his parents, Lee is a “special kind of person,” who has a “deep passion for whatever he’s working on.”
“Just yesterday, my husband and I had to go through some Amazon packages that Jay had previously ordered. We were overwhelmed in seeing how he was ordering baby items out of his own pocket to give out to children in need,” his parents said. “That’s the kind of guy he is.”
In a statement sent out to members of the university community, Chancellor Glenn Boyce said university officials are in contact with Lee’s parents and thanked the community for keeping Lee and his family in their thoughts and prayers.
“I’ve appreciated working on several initiatives that Jay is leading as a student, and I know his parents are proud of his role as a highly engaged member of our campus community,” Boyce wrote.
Brandon Ashmore, a senior pharmacy major, attended the rally Wednesday night. For him, this event was important to bring the community together and show the outpouring of support surrounding Lee and his family.
“I only met Jay a couple of times, but he definitely had a positive impact in my life. It’s clear to see with the people that showed up the impact he was able to have on so many people’s lives,” Ashmore said. “I think it’s important for us all to come out and help support his family.”
The Oxford Police Department and the University Police Department have partnered with the Oxford Field Office of the FBI and the Mississippi’s Attorney General’s Office in efforts to find Lee.
Lee’s family has posted a $5,000 award, in addition to the $1,000 Crime Stoppers is offering for anyone who has information leading to Lee’s whereabouts.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Oxford Police Department at (662) 232-2400, University Police at (662) 915-7234, or Crime Stoppers at (662) 234-8477. Information and tips also can be shared via social media: Facebook: @OxfordMSPolice or @OleMissPolice or Twitter: @OxfordPolice or @OleMissPolice.