A Louisiana TV station ran a story Thursday asking why the state’s attorney general isn’t investigating the murders, and people are comparing the now-high-profile mystery to the HBO TV show “True Detective.”
The Medium story by investigative reporter Ethan Brown is both disturbing and incredibly complex. Brown looks at the interconnected lives of 8 prostitutes killed between 2005 and 2009, and he digs into rumours around Jefferson Davis Parish that the police were behind their murders.
Brown doesn’t reach any definite conclusions about who killed the women, but he brings up coincidence after coincidence that link the police to the 8 murdered women. He also suggests that police, at best, aren’t doing an adequate job of investigating the murder and are, at worst, hindering the investigation.
The story alleges, for the first time, that all 8 of the dead women were police informants about the local drug trade in Jennings, the town of 10,000 in Jefferson Parish where the women lived.
The story suggests that at least one of the murdered police informants may have been privy to police misconduct. From Brown’s story, which quotes Barbara Guillory, the mother of 26-year-old victim Necole Guillory:
Barbara believes that her daughter was murdered because she was witness to local law enforcement corruption or misconduct or worse. “She used to tell us all the time it was the police killing the girls,” Barbara said. “We’d say, ‘Necole, a name. Something. Write a letter and leave it somewhere. Let us know. We can help you.’ No, momma. It’s too far gone. It’s too big. I’d rather y’all not know nothing, that way nothing can happen to y’all… She knew, she knew, she knew, and that’s why they killed her.”
In another strange connection, several people tied to the so-called Jeff Davis 8 were also witness to the 2005 shooting death of a prescription pill dealer at the hands of a police officer, Brown notes. The witness list included one of the murder victims, as well as the boyfriend of another victim. Another man, Harvey “Bird Dog” Burleigh, also witnessed the police officer shooting the drug dealer. Later, Burleigh told the brother of one of the victims that he was “close to finding out who killed your sister” before he was found stabbed to death, Brown writes. His murder has never been solved.
In yet another odd twist that Brown points out, a chief investigator in the Jeff Davis 8 case bought a truck that one of the victims had been seen in before she died. The vehicle could have contained DNA evidence to help solve her murder, Brown writes.
Of course, these could just be coincidences. It is probably tempting for residents of a notoriously corrupt state to spin conspiracy theories when 8 women in a small town end up dead.
Still, Jefferson Davis County Sheriff Ivy Woods, who was elected in 2012, has acknowledged to local station WWLTV.com that the sale of the truck in particular was unfortunate.
“That’s one of those awkward points within the previous department, the sheriff’s department, that happened,” he said. “That’s one thing I can’t say much about because I’m not aware of it, what all happened. And then that’s where the distrust started.”
We reached out to a media representative for Jefferson Davis Parish’s Sheriff’s Department for comment and will update this post if we hear back.
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