Geralyn DeSoto

Published: Jun. 21, 2003 at 3:43 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 12, 2005 at 1:25 PM CDT
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Geralyn DeSoto, a 21-year-old LSU grad student, was brutally stabbed in her Addis (near Baton Rouge) home January 14, 2002. She was found fully clothed. Experts say her attacker could have raped her and put her clothes back on. However, pathologist Alfredo Suarez, who does autopsies for the West Baton Rouge Coroner's Office, chose to go against standard procedure; he did not run a rape kit.

DeSoto's murder was not linked to the other serial killings until June 19, 2003. After her murder, evidence found at the scene had been sent to the State Police Crime Lab, but results came back inconclusive. However, Reliagene Technologies, a private DNA lab in New Orleans, was able to draw DNA samples from fingernail clippings taken from the murder scene. Police say the evidence tested conclusively links Derrick Todd Lee, the prime suspect in the other murders, to DeSoto's death.

Key evidence in DeSoto's case is reportedly missing. Sources tell WAFB-TV, a Baton Rouge television station, that the clothes she was wearing when she was found are now missing. One source says the evidence may have been incinerated.

Family members say they have believed for a while now that DeSoto was a victim of the serial killer. They even attended a few of the serial killer rallies held monthly at the State Capitol. They say her murder is eerily similar to Charlotte Murray Pace's slaying. Like Pace, DeSoto was badly beaten and stabbed as many as 10 times. Another similarity: DeSoto's portable phone was never found, just like Pace's phone. DeSoto's throat was also slashed, just like Pace's.