Murder or Suicide? The Baffling Case of Jessica Renee Johnson

Published on July 17, 2020

The case surrounding Jessica Renee Johnson has been widely discussed and is frequently referenced in the media. The reason that it has drawn so much attention is simply because of the fact that police seem to think that there is no case. According to police, Jessica died from suicide, but her family, friends, and most true crime lovers think that this is obviously not the case.

profile picture of victim Jessica Johnson

37-year-old mother and Jessica Renee Johnson.


Jessica had gone to spend time with her sometimes-boyfriend, a man who no one seemed to like for her. At the age of thirty-seven with two grown children, Jessica Johnson still remained in constant contact with her family. In fact, she had told her mother and son that she would be home soon prior to her death.

The main reason that Jessica’s death is such a topic of hot debate is the manner in which her body was found. Jessica was spotted with shoelaces around her neck connected to a mailbox that was barely a few feet tall. Police claimed that she hung herself, but committing suicide on something this small has been considered impossible by experts and the public alike.

Jessica Johnson was found hanging from a mailbox. Police believe she committed suicide, but others think this was a coverup.


In addition to a bizarre and unrealistic suicide position, that wasn’t all there was to see with Jessica’s death. Her arms were covered in mysterious markings, and one of her arms had a fairly distinguishable footprint on it. Some have speculated that she was beaten and then her assailants framed it as a suicide.

Jessica had a history of addiction and some have suggested that the marks on her arms looked like the marks some users get when meth splatters.

jessica renee johnson marks on arm

These mysterious marks were on Jessica's arm.


Beyond this, Jessica also didn’t look like herself. According to her friends and family, Jessica was never seen without looking her best. Her clothes and her makeup were a part of her identity, but when police identified her body, she was wearing a strange combination of clothes and had no makeup on. The markings on her arms also look like they might have been cleaned, leaving many people curious if the body wasn’t scrubbed down to remove DNA evidence.

Rome Moreno, a former Memphis police officers believes it is impossible for Jessica to tie this knot in the dark.


Possible blood splatter on Jessica's shoe.


Jessica purse has the metal clip broken off.


Despite the fact that she was found in front of a home with a security system, the homeowner, a friend of the boyfriend, had several different excuses regarding what happened to the footage. This has led many to believe that they were helping her boyfriend with a cover-up. Her laceless shoes, found a little ways away and subtly splattered with blood, are also a key focus. Jessica’s body has since been cremated, including everything from that night. Additionally, police reportedly lost the shoelaces that could have been tested for DNA and the case was not looked into further.

An Abusive Relationship

According to friends and family, Jessica’s boyfriend was a known abuser. There were several different concerning incidents with him that made family fear for her personal safety. In fact, her mother actually stated that Jessica told her that if something ever happened to her, he did it.

garland hart jessica johnson

Garland Hart was physically and emotionally abusive to Jessica. Jessica even once commented that "This guy is going to kill me."


On the night of her death, Jessica Johnson reportedly called a friend in a state of absolute hysterics. The friend stated that Jessica had locked herself in the bathroom of a friend of the boyfriend and was pleading to be picked up because she was afraid of him. The friend showed up but Jessica did not leave with them. The next morning, she was found dead.

Though the boyfriend has reportedly denied the fact that he was ever violent towards Jessica, it is hard to believe him when he was actively being pursued for domestic violence charges with another girl. The girl, who has since become his girlfriend, filed a formal report after he attacked her, which seems to justify the abuser narrative.

jessica johnson scene of crime

Police obstructing the crime scene and not properly collecting potential evidence. Police ignore the families plea to look into Jessica Johnson's case in more than a simple suicide.


In another concerning twist, Jessica’s boyfriend changed the passcode on her phone before handing it over to the family. He refused to give the family the code, making it impossible for them to look for further evidence that would link him to the crime.

Several years later, her family is still seeking answers.

The general consensus is that the police horribly mishandled her case, with her family citing the fact that they did not create a crime scene and failed to look for further evidence. Jessica was found with drugs in her system, which her family thinks might be the reason that police aren’t taking her case seriously. Many true crime internet detectives and professional investigators are looking for answers to this story.

If you enjoyed this story, you may also like reading about how Marni Yang killed an NFL player's girlfriend out of sheer jealousy. After that, try and solve the mysteriously disappearance of Amy Lynn Bradley while on a cruise ship.

Pt. 1: Mom's Hanging Death Raises Suspicions - Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen

5 comments on “Murder or Suicide? The Baffling Case of Jessica Renee Johnson”

  1. First heard about this case on a different podcast, I think it was Morbid podcast. The police, investigators totally botched this case. Does appear it's, definitely, a cover up.

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