Parish residents fear going to Jeff Davis Parish

By Chris Rosa

Some Gueydan residents and other Vermilion Parish residents plan to stay away from Jefferson Davis Parish altogether until someone is arrested for killing seven women in Jefferson Davis Parish.

Jefferson Davis Parish touches Vermilion Parish and is west of Gueydan. Jennings is only 22 miles from Gueydan.

Many Gueydan residents travel to Jennings, with a population of 11,000 instead of Kaplan or Abbeville to shop or eat.

This weekend, a missing Jennings teen, who went missing Nov. 2, may have been found. Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff Ricky Edward said the seventh body was discovered in rural parts of the parish and the fifth to turn up within a two-three-mile radius in the last three years.

The first six women knew each other and were known to have lived the same high-risk lifestyle involving drugs and in some cases prostitution.

A Gueydan resident, who did not want to be identified, said her family quit going shopping in Jennings due to the news articles about the dead women.

Jennings Mayor Terry Duhon gives his advice to visitors. “Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t talk to strangers. This person could be living amongst us.”

Vermilion Parish Sheriff Mike Couvillon and Abbeville Police Chief Rick Coleman both warn parish residents that despite the murders occurring in Jefferson Davis Parish, parish residents should pay attention to their surroundings when shopping or when they are alone.

“Residents in any parish need to concerned when they are adjoining this parish,” Couvillon said. “They should keep their eyes open regardless of what is happening in Jennings.”

Couvillon said the Vermilion Parish Sheriff Department has not been called to assist the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff Department or the Jennings Police Department in trying to solve the murder cases.

WIth the holiday season quickly approaching, Couvillon and Coleman each have good advice for women who like to shop and travel alone.

“They should never be by themselves,” Couvillon said. “They should always have a partner. They should keep their keys in their hand to sound the panic button (on their key ring) or keep their cell phone available in order to quickly dial 911. Most of these cell phones have tracking devices on them.”

Chief Coleman said what is happening in Jennings has been ongoing for three or four years and it is not one person all of sudden killing women. “We are asking, especially the ladies, to be very careful when leaving a place of business or any kind of facility going to their car,” Coleman said. “Most apprehensions occur between a door and a car . They should try and park in a light.”

He said if someone does bother you, make as much noise as possible.

“Get on the horn, scream, yell or kick,” Coleman said. “Most of these people are scared of noise and lights. If your car does not have an alarm system on it, you need to put one on it because if someone does bother you, you can push the alarm button and its making noise.”

He said ladies should not put their key chains in their purse while walking to their cars. He stresses that they should hold their keys in their hands in order to quickly activate the alarm system from their car. He also said car keys can be used as a weapon. “I would not want to get stabbed in the eye with a key.”

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