Crackdown on Crime - Murder victim burned beyond recognition - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Crackdown on Crime - Murder victim burned beyond recognition

By Lee Peck - bio | email

STARKS, LA (KPLC) - Just 10 miles from the Texas line, not too far from the Starks area back on January 7, 1997 a hunter discovered the badly burned body of a woman near a hunting camp off Highway 12.

"There's no question that whoever did this is a brutal murderer. Because not only did they murder her but they tried to burn the body to cover up the evidence that may have been presented there," said Sheriff Tony Mancuso.  

Nearly 13 years later authorities have still yet to identify the victim, but say based on the coroner's report she was likely killed the day before being burned on the side of the road.

"We don't know if she was killed in Calcasieu Parish or in Texas. I mean we really don't have a lot to go on other than we know we have a female who we believe is a victim of homicide," explained Sheriff Mancuso.  

Forensic specialists constructed a sculpture of what she could possibly look like and based on an autopsy they know she's not white. It also says she weighed 137 pounds and was around 18 to 25 years old at the time of her death. While some details of the case are not being released, Sheriff Mancuso shows one article of clothing the victim was wearing.

"She had on a red blouse, with red shorts with blue flowers and a plaid shirt or jacket,"  

The case remains open and on the National Crime Information Center in hopes that someone with answers will come forward and help jump start the investigation.

"Somebody knows that this woman has been missing for 12 to 13 years and we're asking the public if they know anything to please contact our office so that we can try to bring some closure to this," said Sheriff Mancuso.  

Anyone with information is asked to call Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's cold case investigator Ramby Cormier at 494-4523... Or Crime Stoppers at 439-2222.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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