Jeff Davis Officials Working To Identify Woman's Body

May 13, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

Over the last two years the bodies of four women have been found in Jeff Davis Parish. The latest was discovered Saturday morning at the intersection of Bobby and Earl Duhon Road off Highway 102 near Jennings.

"I heard it was a woman, don't know the age or anything like that... just that the body was found on the middle of the road," said Marvin Gaspard.

According to Jeff Davis Sheriff's officials the nude body of a white female was found around 7:30 in the morning. Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ricky Edwards says the woman found was between 20 and 40 years old, standing 5'3 and weighing approximately 100 pounds.

"It's the 4th body within the last two years and we've had no convictions and it concerns me that so many of these young girls are being found near Jennings," said Jennings resident Susan Courville.

Since 2005, the bodies of three other women have been found in local canals. In May of 2005, a fisherman discovered the body of 29-year-old Lorretta Lynn Chaisson in the Grand Marais drainage canal off Highway 1126. A month later, 30-year-old Ernestine Patterson was found in a canal off Highway 102 just south of Jennings. Then on March 18th of this year, 21-year-old Kristen Gary Lopez was found dead in the Petitjean Canal near Welsh.

Sheriff Edwards says the FBI VICAP has been utilized on the previous three murders.

"In the beginning, the first three bodies were found in water. Of course you tend to think that they are related, but then this one being found in the middle of the road... It kind of makes you feel like there's more than one person involved in this," said Courville.

For Jennings resident Amber Bourque, the discovery of Lopez's body hit close to home. "We went to school together. I was heartbroken because, I mean, like I said we ran together all the time whenever we were younger," said Bourque.

As the Calcasieu Parish Coroner's Office assists Jeff Davis investigators in identifying this latest victim, Bourque urges anyone with information to come forward.

"Go to the sheriff's office and tell them what's going on if they know anything or any whereabouts of where this person is at that's killing all these people," said Bourque.

Authorities have made two arrests for Ernestine Patterson's death. The other two murders remain unsolved and have not yet been connected.

Meanwhile, 7 News is told that the Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff's Office will release new details about this case some time on Monday. We'll of course bring you the latest as it becomes available.