Unedited video released from special report on Jeff Davis murder - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Unedited video released from 2009 special report on Jeff Davis murders

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Lake Charles, LA (AP) -

Investigators in Jeff Davis Parish continue to look for leads in eight unsolved murders between 2006 and 2009, and they believe unaired video from KPLC-TV may help them. Until recently, that video was thought to be lost forever.

More than four years after a special report aired on KPLC-TV profiling the murders, Jeff Davis Parish District Attorney Michael Cassidy asked a court to order the station to hand over raw video from the interviews of Tracee Chaisson and Frankie Richard.

KPLC-TV decided not to turn over the unedited footage, arguing that is was not in compliance with state or federal law, including the U.S. Constitution. 

Despite the legal battle between prosecutors and the television station, another challenge was presented: station personnel could not locate the unedited video.

KPLC-TV News Director Charlie Haldeman explained the raw video wasn't believed to exist any longer.

"In the digital age, field video is recorded over, and the video that was there before it is often erased," Haldeman said.

Haldeman said the files were found on a unmarked hard drive recently.

"I plugged the drive in to my PC and saw several folders with what appeared to be video from our special report. That's when I remembered the court order from 2012," Haldeman said.

The 2012 subpoena was at least the second attempt by prosecutors to see raw video.  KPLC-TV reported in 2009 that prosecutors had asked for the same video.

The drive contains seven video clips of Chaisson and Richard's interviews with KPLC's Theresa Schmidt and Lee Peck.

Five years after a series of unsolved murders shocked the region, little is known about who committed the crimes.

Chaisson said in 2009 that she knew some of the girls, but denied knowing anything about their deaths.  Richard said he also knew most of the victims, and was initially called a person of interest by investigators.

While the station fought the court order, Haldeman said the decision to release the unedited video will satisfy the court and the public.

"I think that now we've found it and reviewed it, there's no reason not to post it on kplctv.com for everybody to see.  Investigators will be able to see it too."

You can view the video clips by clicking HERE or by going to www.kplctv.com/category/278184/jeff-davis-outtake-video-landing-page

More information on the unsolved murders is available HERE or by going to www.kplctv.com/category/154324/jeff-davis-mystery-deaths

Copyright 2014 KPLC.  All Rights Reserved.

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