Cold case card deck issued in LA prisons

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Law enforcement has a new tool to help solve unsolved murders and missing persons cases. The Department of Safety and Corrections has issued the Louisiana Cold Case Card Deck of playing cards.

"This is our first deck. We have 52 unsolved cases in here. Most agencies around the state submitted numerous cases, but we tried to get a complete cross-section of homicides, missing persons, and unidentified remains cases to represent the state," said Sid Newman, with Crime Stoppers.

The "Cold Case Card Deck" is a combined effort of the Louisiana Department of Safety and Corrections and Crime Stoppers. DSP&C Secretary James LeBlanc says the project is mirrored after similar projects in Minnesota and Florida, where inmates can call tips in anonymously.

"It works. We know it works. They are solving crimes and we hope to have success here in Louisiana," said LeBlanc.

Loretta Lynn Chaisson, Ernestine Daniels Patterson, and Kristen Gary Lopez - the first three victims in the Jeff Davis eight investigation - are also featured in the deck. Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ricky Edwards says the cards have already generated some calls to the task force investigating the deaths of the eight women.

"At the time we were fixing to go to print we had 7 of our 8 victims. #8 had not happened - Nicole. And we are fortunate to have three of our cases in the cold case deck. As Sid said he may not know how many calls are getting out or so forth but we found out through the vine that they were in the system 3 to 4 weeks ago because we already got a call on one of them. So I know this will work," said Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ricky Edwards.

Sheriff Edwards would not talk about the specifics of the case but did say they are following up. "We definitely know that the information came from the deck. We interviewed the person and the information they had didn't match what we had so we inquired more and did find out he got the information from the deck," said Edwards.

Meanwhile Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso says the cards are already available to the more than 1300 inmates behind bars at the Calcasieu Correctional Center.

"Just here in Calcasieu Parish we have 1300 inmates. We are probably one of the larger jails - certainly not the largest, but that's 1300 more prisoners that are listening to other prisoners and communicating and lets face it they are probably talking about their crimes and what they have done. And whether they are bragging or whether they are just having small conversation - they may see one of these cards and that may be ultimately what leads to an arrest or an indictment," said Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso.

Of the 52 cards, Calcasieu Parish has two cases:

David Briley, 42: Briley was last seen on August 16, 2007 when he left his trailer park in Lake Charles, LA to go to the store. He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white shirt and white shoes.

Raenell Veillon, 41: Veillon was last seen alive on May 10, 2002. The remains of Raenell Veillon were discovered two weeks later in a field south of Lake Charles, LA.

Veillon's mother, Sylvia Fontenot, was at the press conference and believes this could offer answers to unsolved cases like her daughter. "Hopefully these cards - someone knows something or heard something and they will come forward and will help us convict some for this crime," said Fontenot.

Members of the public wishing to obtain a Louisiana Cold Case Card deck, can contact the nearest Crime Stoppers Office listed below.

Lake Charles Crime Stoppers:
Kim Meyers - 337-491-3667

Lafayette Crime Stoppers:
Lt. Craig Stansberry - 337-232-8477

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