Crackdown on Crime - Murder of Catherine Martin

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The case has been open since February 18, 1982, when a woman's body was found floating in the Black Bayou. The victim identified as Catherine Martin of Iowa, died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma to her face.

"It's a shame because she is 20 years old, brutally murdered," said Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso. "It's important that people understand that a murder case never goes away, it's never closed."

According to Mancuso several key pieces of evidence were collected. Martin's car found abandoned near the Calcasieu/Jeff Davis parish line. Also the bloody weapons believed to be used in the murder - a tire changing hammer and flat head screw driver found along with her cosmetic bag two days later near Rabbit Island under the Interstate 210 Bridge. Investigators believe they were tossed.

There are also reports of a suspicious truck described a two tone dark red GMC or Chevy seen leaving the Black Bayou area the night before the body was discovered. And even though there were suspects at the time, Mancuso said nothing ever panned out.

"Many times, have a suspect and having the evidence we didn't have the technology back then that we have today," said Mancuso.

Just like the status of the case, not much has changed at Black Bayou since 1982. Over the years different investigators have looked over the case, most recently Calcasieu's Cold Case Squad. Often times they revisit witnesses and the crime scenes.

"We kind of start back from scratch and just re-look at it and see if a new set of eyes brings a different light to it," said Mancuso.

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

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