Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr., a recent graduate of University of Mississippi, has been charged with murder in the case of Jimmie “Jay” Lee, a 20-year-old Black student who was well-known in Oxford’s LGBTQ community.

The Oxford Police Department announced the arrest in a press release Friday night. OPD did not provide the date or time that Herrington was booked or a motive. A bond has not yet been set. Herrington’s charges are not yet posted to Lafayette County’s online court records database. 

OPD asked anyone with information to contact police, who are “still working to locate Lee’s body.” 

“This is still an ongoing investigation and updates will be given at a later date,” the press release states. 

Lee’s disappearance 14 days ago had spurred his friends and family to conduct search parties across Oxford and post flyers pleading for information. On Wednesday, his classmates in the UM Department of Social Work held a rally for Lee.

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Many people describe Lee as an open, confident person who broke barriers for UM’s LGBTQ community and was drawn to social work because he wanted to help people. He had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work and was already accepted to pursue his master’s this fall. 

“This is a loving, caring person that would give you the shirt off his back if you need it,” Tayla Carey, Lee’s sister, told Mississippi Today last week. 

Lee was last seen at 5:58 a.m. on Friday, July 8, sitting in his car at Campus Walk Apartments, where he lived. The 20-year-old was reported missing to the University of Mississippi Police Department that evening after he did not show up to a donation drive for baby formula that he had organized as part of a summer internship. 

Three days later, police found Lee’s car in the impound lot of a local towing company, which had taken it from Molly Barr Trails, a student housing complex, that Friday afternoon. In its press release, the Oxford Police Department had stated it believed Lee was at Molly Barr Trails to visit someone. 

It’s not clear if Lee was visiting Herrington. 

Social media accounts belonging to Herrington show that he had just graduated from UM with a bachelor’s degree in real estate. His family is from Grenada, and his ex-uncle is Carlos Moore, who was elected president of the National Bar Association last year. 

The 22-year-old appears to have been involved on campus, serving on the executive boards for several student organizations during the 2020-2021 school year. He is also the owner of T&T Moving, a student-run moving company. 

Herrington’s most recent Instagram post, on May 5, shows him standing in front of a construction site in a powder-blue suit, celebrating his recent graduation.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect the relationship between Carlos Moore and Sheldon Timothy Herrington.

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Molly Minta covers higher education for Mississippi Today. She works in partnership with Open Campus, a nonprofit news organization focused on investigating higher education. Originally from Melbourne Beach, Florida, Molly reported on public housing and prosecutors in her home state and worked as a fact-checker at The Nation before joining Mississippi Today. Her story on Mississippi's only class on critical race theory was a finalist for the Education Writers Association National Awards for Education Reporting in 2023 in the feature reporting category.