17 years later, police continue to search for answers after baby - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

17 years later, police continue to search for answers after baby found in freezer

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

In August of 2001, Amy Tonguis made a frantic call to 911 after her husband, Benjamin Tonguis, found their 9-day-old baby in the freezer.

Originally, police say, Amy told investigators she must have done it. But, as questioning went on, police say the parents pointed the blame at each other.

Click HERE to listen to the 911 call made by Amy Tonguis. Warning: the call contains graphic material.

Figuring out who was responsible would prove difficult.

Then-detectives and partners Mark Kraus and Jeff Keenum each believed the other parent placed Tristan in the freezer.

With the two Lake Charles police officers unable to agree, the case went cold.

"I’m proud of what my opinion was," said Deputy Chief Mark Kraus. "I'm more proud of what Keenum‘s opinion was that he said I just don’t think he did it and we had to move forward."

In 2004, Amy Tonguis pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact and spent seven months in jail.

Benjamin Tonguis walked free; no one charged with Tristan's death.

What might seem like a simple case was so complex that 17 years later authorities are no closer to a murder conviction.

A bit of hope came for Kraus and Keenum in 2015. 

Ben Tonguis had been arrested in another parish after admitting to raping his teenage stepdaughter.

Detectives thought his confession could lead to another.

“You wanted to reach across the table and demand the truth," Sgt. Keenum said. "But he didn’t confess.”

Tonguis was sentenced to 40 years for aggravated rape. However, for the officers who worked the Tristian Tonguis case, justice was not serviced.

Still today, investigators wait to take the stand. Unfortunately, that day may never come, as the District Attorney's Office considers the case closed.

“He’s been convicted of aggravated rape," said D.A. John DeRosier. "If that were not the case we might take a different approach.”

So the case remains unsolved. Benjamin Tonguis is serving his sentence in Avoyelles Parish and Amy Tonguis continues to live in Lake Charles.

Amy's attorney say's she has no comment.

The District Attorney said even though they closed the case, if Benjamin Tonguis were ever released, he's ready to try the case.

Copyright 2018 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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