BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - More than a month after 57-year-old Janessa Hartley was brutally shot and killed while dropping off a friend along Brookshire Drive in Baton Rouge, police are still working to bring her killer to justice.
A spokesman with the Baton Rouge Police Department tells WAFB they continue to investigate, but are no closer to naming a motive or making an arrest.
It’s a grim reality some living in the Sherwood Forest neighborhood admit has them on edge. Eunice McCarney does not live far from where the crime happened and tells WAFB’s Scottie Hunter the incident has definitely changed the atmosphere in the quiet community.
“It’s just terrible,” said McCarney. “When I come home at night, I make sure my garage door is closed before I even get out of my car and I just limit how even if I go out at night.”
McCarney has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years and says the worst part of it all is the unknown. She does remain confident in police, but with few answers to the endless questions surrounding the case, she believes fear is inevitable.
“It is because you don’t know where it’s random or if it was targeted,” she added. “You know, not knowing the motive, you just don’t know.”
Gary Patureau, chairman of the Sherwood Forest Crime Prevention District, says they are hard at work to beef up security.
“We are very eager to get it up and rolling,” Patureau said.
Within 60 days, they plan to install cameras and license plate readers at each of the 16 entrances to the neighborhood. The equipment will be similar to devices in other Baton Rouge communities, but Sherwood Forest leaders will take it a step further by tying their devices directly to BRPD. Once the Real Time Crime Center comes online, officers within the department will be able to monitor the cameras 'round the clock.
“It is going to bring a level of security really like no other subdivision has at this point,” said Patureau.
It’s the third piece of a comprehensive security plan Patureau believes will catch on in other places and hopefully prevent another tragedy like this one from happening.
“We hope it’s a solid pilot program so that other neighborhoods can follow the formula as they go forward,” he added.
Those who live in the community will be responsible for paying about $75 annually to make the program a reality. Leaders plan to break ground on the camera system sometime in March.