LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - In late May of 2005, a young woman's body was found dumped in a canal just south of the city of Jennings. It was a shocking discovery, but unknown to law enforcement at the time, it would be just the first of six bodies that would be found in the rural area's of Jeff Davis Parish over the course of the next three and a-half years. Jeff Davis Sheriff Ricky Edwards says he'd like to find the person or persons responsible, and bring closure to the victim's families.
Three years, and six bodies. Females who happened to share what Jeff Davis Sheriff Ricky Edwards calls, a "high-risk" lifestyle. All of their bodies dumped on the rural roads and canals located in the area south of Jennings. "A lot of people are saying, 'Well, these women were in high-risk lifestyles and so forth,' and that term is kind of buzzed too much, I believe. Nobody deserves to die any way like this. Even if they overdose, they still don't deserve to have their bodies dumped," says Edwards.
Edwards says his department has interviewed hundreds of people about these crimes, and that there are plenty of individuals who are willing to step forward and provide information. Yet so far, that information hasn't provided the answers that Edwards is looking for. "People will come forward if they know information. Sometimes in that particular environment these girls were dealing with, those people were afraid to come forward for fear of getting in trouble themselves. We encourage you to come forward. We're not looking at your past mistakes or anything like that. We're looking for justice, we're looking to get down to the truth, and we're looking to find out the individual or individuals who are doing this. "One of the things that's really the problem is we've got three that have not been determined if they're homicides or just overdoses and dumped. So, we're not sure if we're looking for a killer or a dumper or maybe all the same person. So we're not leaving any stone unturned. We could be looking for several people, we could be looking for only one person," says Edwards.
Edwards says his department has spent hundreds of hours on this case, and that at least some part of every day is spent combing over new clues. He's even enlisted the help of the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies. Still, he's afraid that something like this might happen again. "Crime happens all the time. It's been happening since the days of Attila the Hun and way before Jesus Christ. Am I worried? Yeah, I'm worried that it will happen again. When will it happen? I have no clue. Whether it happens and it's the same person or whether another case happens, it's always disturbing that people don't respect life enough to take someone else's."
Sheriff Edwards is still trying to positively identify the sixth victim, whose body was found on September 11th of this year. DNA results are pending.