Investigations

THE INVESTIGATORS

Jessica Jaglois

Jessica Jaglois

Investigative reporter

Jessica Jaglois is an investigative reporter at WMC Action News 5. She has a particular interest in investigating stories about government corruption and waste, criminal justice and issues facing children.

As the city of New Orleans's most honored investigative reporter, Lee Zurik has been uncovering and reporting impactful stories on WVUE since 2009. Following up his tenacious inquiries with detailed analysis and powerful storytelling, Lee delivers unprecedented accountability of government officials, private citizens and corporations.

Rachel DePompa

Rachel DePompa

Investigative reporter

Rachel DePompa is NBC12's On Your Side Investigator. Before joining WWBT in March of 2008 Rachel worked in Roanoke, Bristol and Harrisonburg.

  The Investigators: Voting equipment became more expensive after elections administrator’s modifications

  The Investigators: Ticket companies are refusing refunds for canceled and postponed events. Here’s what you can expect.

  Military equipment flows to Mid-South law enforcement agencies

  The Investigators: How local universities are sharing COVID-19 data and handling cases

  The Investigators: Work resumes at utility site amid race discrimination investigation

  The Investigators: Father of pepper spray victim says he feared for his son’s safety

Continued Coverage

  The Investigators: COVID-19 is in schools; is your school doing enough to keep students safe?

  The Investigators: Excessive force complaint leads to body cam review, officer resignation

  The Investigators: Declining enrollment numbers could mean millions of dollars lost in state education funding

  The Investigators: Does your internet plan have enough data to handle virtual learning?

  The Investigators: Working parents choose between child care or leaving children unattended as students learn virtually

  The Investigators: How virtual schooling could impact parents’ mental health

  The Investigators: Teachers are leaving the profession because of COVID-19

School districts across the Mid-South need more teachers now. A teacher shortage existed before the pandemic, but fears over COVID-19 may be making the problem worse.

Tunica County man shot to death in Coahoma County

On Wednesday August 19, 2020 a Tunica county resident was fatally shot multiple times in Coahoma, Mississippi.

  The Investigators: The field trip has gone virtual. Will the places that rely on the revenue survive?

In this time of social distancing and virtual learning, the field trip now looks different. The hands-on experience a field trip usually offers has been brought to an online platform.

  The Investigators: What will increased screen time mean for your child’s physical, mental health?

Medical experts say too much screen time can be harmful to anyone, but what about developing minds in particular?

  The Investigators: Private school applications spike as public schools go virtual

  The Investigators: Parents of special education students anxious about Shelby County’s virtual plan

  The Investigators: Breaking down the cost of bridging Shelby County’s digital divide

  The Investigators: Should parents in certain communities be more concerned for their children’s risk of contracting COVID-19?

  The Investigators: As some schools offer in-person lessons, Mid-South doctors discuss short-term, long-term effects of COVID-19 on children

  Mid-South churches, private and charter schools reap millions in taxpayer-funded loans

  The Investigators: Dozens of female inmates have been granted parole but remain behind bars

Their releases are delayed because access to classes the inmates must take before gaining freedom has been postponed due to the pandemic.

  The Investigators: COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the rise. Here’s what that means.

Data charts from the Departments of Health for Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi all show the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations rising dramatically.

  The Investigators: What Mid-Southerners need to know when federal unemployment assistance ends

Mid-Southerners who rely on unemployment money will soon lose a large amount of their benefits near the end of the month.

  The Investigators: Number of infected inmates drop dramatically at Forrest City prison; inmates, loved ones concerned by the decrease

There has been a dramatic drop in the number of inmates infected with COVID-19 at an Arkansas prison.

  The Investigators: Waiting on the state, hundreds of Tennesseans who are eligible for unemployment have not received their benefits

Hundreds of Tennesseans haven’t received their unemployment benefits because they owe the money to the state.

  The Investigators: Could COVID-19 cause Memphis’ next housing crisis?

While thousands of Shelby County residents are facing eviction right now, more renters could be forced from their homes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers say the influx could push Memphis into its next housing crisis.

  The Investigators: What would defunding the Memphis Police Department look like?

While calls to defund and demilitarize police departments across the country are growing louder, so is the confusion and outrage surrounding those statements.

  The Investigators: Fewer homes, higher prices in the Memphis market

Memphis is a seller’s market right now.

  Memphis Police Director: ‘Room to revise’ officer training, ‘nothing more important’ than firearms training

Activists and community members continue to call for changes to policing across the country, including more de-escalation training for officers. Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings told the WMC Action News 5 Investigators that there is room for improvement.

  The Investigators: Memphis police director makes first change to policy since George Floyd’s death, protests

Changes have been made to the Memphis police policy in response to George Floyd’s death and the protests that followed.

  The Investigators: All Tennessee voters can request absentee ballots during the pandemic. What’s next and how do you get one?

All Tennessee voters can now request an absentee ballot following a judge’s ruling that allows mail-in ballots for anyone who doesn’t feel safe going to the polls because of COVID-19.

  The Investigators: Will more absentee ballots in Tennessee mean more voter fraud?

Prior to Thursday night’s ruling, the WMC Action News 5 Investigators uncovered that Shelby County voters were already requesting absentee ballots in record numbers.

  The Investigators: Unemployment benefits, workplace safety among reasons Tennesseans aren’t returning to work

More than 1,200 Tennesseans are accused of choosing not to go back to work, even though their workplaces have reopened.

  The Investigators: Child abuse reports dropped to a 5-year low in Arkansas, officials won’t link it to the COVID-19 pandemic

Child abuse reports in Arkansas dropped to a five-year low in Arkansas in April, which also happened to be Child Abuse and Prevention Month.

  The Investigators: TN Department of Labor says federal guidance for unemployment could have been more ‘clear’, ‘timely’

Months after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses across the state, thousands of out-of-work Tennesseans still have not received their unemployment money.

  The Investigators: Labor commissioner says worker shortage to blame for Tenn. unemployment delays

The Investigators sat down with the Tennessee Department of Labor commissioner to ask what’s being done to process the backlog and bring relief to desperate, unemployed workers.

  New COVID-19 map released by Health Department shows several neighborhoods in Shelby County are no longer hotspots

Two Shelby County neighborhoods identified as COVID-19 hotspots have seen their case rates drop.

  The Investigators: Tennessee lawmakers hear desperate cries from the unemployed during virtual town hall

Dozens of Tennesseans who still haven’t received their unemployment benefits voiced their concerns to law makers Friday.

  The Investigators: Shelby County Health Department changes how it measures COVID-19 infection rates

Health officials have changed the way they are tracking COVID-19 hot spots in Shelby County.

  The Investigators: Small communities near Shelby County have higher incidence of COVID-19

The COVID-19 case rate is higher in several small communities outside of Shelby County. While those counties have fewer COVID-19 cases, the disease is more prevalent.

  Wrong video conference help line routes to scammers

Incorrect tech support numbers posted on the internet lead to scammers trying to trick consumers into giving up their credit card information.

  The Investigators: You may lose money if you cancel your vacation rental during the COVID-19 pandemic

Beaches and vacation rentals are now open in Georgia, Alabama and eight counties in Florida, just in time for Memorial Day. However, one local family says they wished they knew the cancellation policies for the vacation rental they booked for Memorial Day weekend.

  The Investigators: Why fewer people are being tested in Arkansas than in Mississippi and Tennessee

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has set a goal of testing 60,000 people for COVID-19 by the end of May. The reason is because Arkansas’s test rate is far below other states in the Mid-South.

  Dozens of nursing homes cited for infection-related deficiencies early this year now have COVID-19 cases

An analysis of state nursing home inspections and records of COVID-19 infections associated with nursing homes by the Washington Post reveals dozens of facilities had infection-related violations in the months before coronavirus infections.

  The Investigators: Shelby County’s COVID-19 test positivity rate declines even as businesses reopen

As more people test for COVID-19, the number of cases will continue to rise but health officials are watching the testing positivity rate.

  The Investigators: What happens when state unemployment funds dry up in a matter weeks?

Tennessee state officials are closely watching the amount of money in the state’s unemployment fund because it could run out in a matter of weeks.

  Watching Your Wallet: Scammers found infiltrating legitimate job posting sites

Scammers are looking to take advantage of unemployed and furloughed workers looking for job online. They're even using common job search websites to target people.

  The Investigators: How those who file for unemployment in the Mid-South are falling through the cracks

As businesses partially reopen in the Mid-South, tens of thousands of people who have been or remain out of work still have not received their unemployment benefits.

  The Investigators: City employees reassigned to patrol parks

Courtesy crews will be patrolling parks for the foreseeable future to make sure people follow the rules that remain in place under Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s amended safer-at-home order.

  The Investigators: The number health officials are watching as businesses reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

Shelby County officials said Wednesday that there is a flattening the curve even as the number of COVID-19 cases grows. However, health officials are watching another number to help determine if or when we’ll enter Phase 2 of Shelby County’s Back-to-Business Plan.

  Drug Dependence: COVID-19 weakens already fragile U.S. drug supply

Unlike many other countries, the FDA doesn't require a "made in" label on drugs, even though the federal agency estimates 80% of the ingredients and 40% of the finished drugs are manufactured overseas.

  The Investigators: Memphis International Airport sees $11M loss as COVID-19 pandemic persists

As Memphis International Airport prepares for an influx of federal money, concerns remain over whether the airline will be able to pay their rent.

  Arkansas opening unemployment benefits for self-employed, independent contractors

Arkansans who are self-employed workers or independent contractors and out of work because of COVID-19 can apply for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) beginning Tuesday, May 5.

  The Investigators: New unemployment filings are going down but will the decrease continue?

The number of people for unemployment has been decreasing in the Mid-South for the past three weeks.

  The Investigators: Why one zip code has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Shelby County

Health officials are keeping a watchful eye on the number of COVID-19 cases in one Shelby County community.

  The Investigators: Mississippi Health Department lab is not running all the COVID-19 tests it can

As Mississippi begins reopening various businesses this week, the state is currently testing more people for COVID-19 per capita than most states across the nation.

  The Investigators: Pandemic puts the brakes on new car titles and registrations

With public access to many government offices in Tennessee closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, simple tasks like registering a vehicle or transferring a title are anything but simple.

  The Investigators: Mississippi’s COVID-19 testing strategy is about to change

The state of Mississippi is changing its COVID-19 test strategy, with a new focus on confirmed outbreaks rather than potential exposure to the disease.

  The Investigators: Neighbor’s tree crushes woman’s house during Mississippi storm. She doesn’t have insurance. Who’s responsible?

A Mississippi woman had to crawl to safety after her home was crushed by one of her neighbor's trees. Now, she doesn’t have money to fix her home and she believes her neighbor should pay for the damage because the tree was on his property.

  The Investigators: BBB reports COVID-19 related scams on the rise as cases increase in the Mid-South

In a six week period, Crawford says the BBB has received 54 COVID-19 related scam reports. That’s more than one report a day.

  The Investigators: This west Tennessee county does not have a single COVID-19 case

There are three counties in Tennessee who, so far, do not have a single case of COVID-19. One of those counties is Crockett County in west Tennessee.

  The Investigators: Customers of tax preparation company say they didn’t receive their federal stimulus money

Millions of people have received their economic impact payments from the federal government. But there are folks across the country, including here in the Mid-South, who say their money was sent to the wrong bank account.

  The Investigators: Food, grocery delivery drivers report child abuse as schools, churches close

The risk for child abuse in the Mid-South has increased as families isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, calls into child abuse hotlines continue to plummet.

  The Investigators: Unemployment websites not ready for self-employed, independent contractors

Under the Act’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, self-employed independent contractors can now apply for unemployment.

  The Investigators: Arkansas governor asks CDC to take over testing at federal prison

Dr. Smith said the CDC came to the facility last week, and then left on Saturday. The state wants the CDC to come back.

  The Investigators: COVID-19 map predicts when hospitals will be overloaded in the Mid-South

Some hospitals in the Mid-South could be overloaded with COVID-19 patients in less than two weeks, according to a new data mapping tool that breaks down predicted hospital surges by county.

  The Investigators: Feds say fake COVID-19 tests from China seized at Memphis FedEx facility

A federal affidavit obtained by WMC Action News 5 states 100 fake COVID-19 tests were recently seized at the FedEx hub in Memphis.

  The Investigators: Inmates fear for their safety inside Arkansas prison with COVID-19 outbreak

More than 20 inmates and staff members at a federal prison in Arkansas have tested positive for COVID-19 and many more are exhibiting with symptoms, according to federal and state officials.

  The Investigators: Tracking tool shows fire departments with positive COVID-19 tests

The International Association of Fire Fighters has released a tracking tool that shows which fire departments have reported exposure to COVID-19 or have had employees test positive with the disease.

  The Investigators: What you need to know about Tennessee and Mississippi’s ‘stay-at-home’ and ‘shelter-in-place’ orders

What you need to know about Tennessee and Mississippi’s ‘stay-at-home’ and ‘shelter-in-place’ orders

  Robocalls advertising fake coronavirus-related products and bogus deals

Robocalls have turned from the usual social security fraud scams to coronavirus-related messages. The FTC says some are peddling fake products, and others are looking to cash in on stimulus checks.

  The Investigators: Will your home insurance cover you working from home?

Hippo Insurance spoke with the WMC Action News 5 Investigators about what you need to know about working from home.

  The Investigators: Mississippi counties hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic

New data obtained by WMC Action News 5 shows parts of Mississippi have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  The Investigators: U.S. Attorney in West Tennessee assigns COVID-19 coordinator to tackle fraud, price gouging

A new COVID-19 coordinator has been assigned in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in West Tennessee to solely focus on prosecuting fraud related to the coronavirus pandemic.

  The Investigators: Calls into child abuse hotlines drop during pandemic

While classes are canceled across the Mid-South, child abuse is more likely to be spotted at school than anywhere else.

  The Investigators: Prisoners granted parole may not be released during COVID-19 pandemic

Nearly 1,600 Tennessee inmates are sitting in prison right now have been granted parole.

Pharmacists: Doctors writing prescriptions for possible COVID-19 treatment at expense of chronically-ill patients

Lupus patients say they are unable to get refills of their hydroxychloroquine after the announcement of clinical trials to study the drug for possible coronavirus treatment. Pharmacists say some doctors are writing prescriptions for friends and family members.

  The Investigators: Do safety laws protect workers who report to work during the pandemic?

The WMC Action News 5 Investigators have received emails from employees stating they do not feel safe reporting to work every day.