At the end of January, the jiu-jitsu community was among those stunned and saddened by the sudden death of 29-year-old Virginia native Cassia Renee DuVal — a BJJ blue belt who trained out of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Goldsboro in North Carolina. DuVal, whose body was found in a crashed vehicle, was seven months pregnant at the time, and her unborn child didn’t survive.
Police had begun investigating the case as a homicide, and now, they’ve made an arrest in the case. 33-year-old James Isaac Jones has been charged with one count of murder and one count of murder of an unborn child in connection with DuVal’s death, according to the Herald Courier. While the final autopsy for DuVal hasn’t yet been completed, it has been confirmed that she died of a gunshot wound.
Jones and DuVal reportedly lived together in Pikeville, though further details of what may have transpired before DuVal’s death aren’t yet publicly available.
DuVal was a passionate jiu-jitsu student, and her obituary referenced her love for her “Brazilian jiu-jitsu family.” A GoFundMe has been created to help pay for DuVal’s funeral expenses, and at the time of this post’s publication, it was still about $1,500 away from meeting its $6,000 goal.
The Jiu-Jitsu Times will provide updates on this case as they become available.