Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jessica Lunsford, Death of a 9-Year-Old

'Don't Yell or Nothing'

In his video-taped confession, Couey admitted that had entered the Lunsford home at around 3:00 a.m. on February 24 and found Jessica asleep in her bed. He woke her and ordered her to be quiet. "Don't yell or nothing," he said and told her to follow him back to his sister's house. According to Couey, she was compliant, and in fact the police found no signs of struggle in her room.

Investigators at the crime scene
Investigators at the crime scene

Couey admitted to raping Jessica after taking her to his room at his half-sister's home, keeping her in bed with him for the rest of the night, then raping her again in the morning. Afterward he put her in his closet and ordered her to stay there and not say a word while he went to work at "Billy's truck lot."  Again, she complied with his order and stayed put the whole day. According to the America's Most Wanted website, Couey turned on a television set for her to watch through the slightly opened closet door. Couey told detectives that she had seen televised news reports about herself and the efforts to find her.


Couey told authorities that he had been drinking and getting high the night he abducted Jessica, saying he had been "drug-hazed."  He remembered cooking her a hamburger at some point during her capture and making her urinate in the closet, so that his housemates wouldn't know she was there. He kept her in the closet for three days. During that time, investigators came to the trailer looking for him but did not check his closet.

When he learned that detectives were searching for him, he panicked. He felt he had to do something with Jessica right away before he was caught so he decided to bury her... even though she wasn't dead.


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