Case File #0169
The Jeff Davis 8
The Louisiana Serial Murder Case
"None of us are above the law"
In May 2005, the body of a young woman was found floating in the East Fork of the Grand Marais Canal in the city of Jennings in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana. The body was too decomposed to provide police with a cause of death, but was identified as Loretta Chaisson Lewis, a known prostitute with a history of drug addiction. Her death was attributed to the ongoing drug problem that many young women were falling victim to. On 18 June, just six miles from where Chaisson's body had been discovered, the corpse of another young woman was located, that of prostitute Ernestine Patterson. The two women had been friends, and soon rumours abounded that a serial killer was stalking the city of Jennings, preying on the women of the night. In March 2007, yet another young woman was found dead. Kristen Gary Lopez had shared many similarities with the previous victims, such as engaging in sex work, drugs and minor criminal activity, however her death would result in the arrest of a suspect, Frankie Richard, a known drug dealer and pimp who knew some of the victims and was known as a violent individual. Although Richard would be released without charge, police continued to believe the murders were the work of a serial killer and focused their investigation in search of a lone suspect. By August 2009, another five young women would be brutally murdered, their bodies dumped in remote locations throughout the Louisiana Bayou. The remains decomposed quickly, due to the hot weather, making the cause of death difficult to determine. Although a multi-agency task-force had been assembled, many within the community had lost confidence in the police, and there were those who suspected and feared that the killings might be the work of members of law enforcement looking to cover-up drug related crimes, and who had long been suspected of involvement in the local drug trade. Despite numerous suspects, the Jennings police have been strongly accused of corruption and mishandling the investigation, which has resulted in no suspect charged in any of the eight murders of young women in Jefferson Davis.
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