Jasmine Whiteside was not herself.
Usually reliable and upbeat, the University of Southern Mississippi senior had begun ditching plans with friends and texting photos of herself crying.
Her mother, Angela Whiteside, was baffled. She knew her daughter, nicknamed Coco, as intelligent and independent, the kind of kid who takes care of business.
“Whatever you wanted or needed, Coco was there for you,” Angela Whiteside said. “Ain't nobody perfect, but she was perfect.”
And now she was a perfect mess.
“She was saying stuff that didn't make sense,” Jasmine's mother said. “She told one of her professors that she was chasing the sun in her car.”
On Sunday, Dec. 14, 2013, an agitated and paranoid Jasmine showed up at the Hattiesburg home of Dr. Amy Chasteen Miller, her academic advisor, mentor and friend.
Jasmine hadn't been sleeping or eating and had a headache. And when Miller took her in, she remembers thinking Jasmine was “a good night's sleep and a meal away from normal.”
Then things went from bad to unbelievable.