Woman's Body Found on I-10 embankment near Egan
By Howell Dennis
CPS News Editor:
A woman’s body found yesterday on the embankment of the westbound lane of I-10 near the Egan exit may be that of a Jennings woman who only a few hours before had been reported to police as being missing by her family. On Wednesday evening, authorities were emphasizing that no identification had yet to be made but they did declare the woman’s death as a homicide. However, as most area residents know, the words “missing woman” and “Jennings” have become all too synonymous in the past few years. Seven other women have disappeared in the Jennings area and were eventually found to be murdered under similar circumstances since 2005.
The body was found by a man while he was weedeating along the I-10 embankment Wednesday afternoon at approximately 2:30 p.m. It was at approximately noon Wednesday when the woman’s family called police to say that she was missing. Apparently, she hadn’t been seen by her family since Sunday.
Though authorities have adamantly and repeatedly stated that this may not be the work of only one killer, many area residents believe that a serial killer has been operating in the Jennings area since the body of Loretta Chaisson, the first victim, was found in May of 2005.
If the body recovered Wednesday is determined to be part of that string of killings, it represents a major shift in the method in which the bodies were disposed. Whereas the other victims were mainly found along rural roads and in canals, this victim was found right along the side of the main thoroughfare in south Louisiana.
"Jennings authorities received a call reporting a missing woman at approximately just after noon," said Major Keith Latiolais of the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Department as well as a member of the task force which was formed last December to investigate the seven murders. "A work crew near the Egan exit found the body at approximately 2:30 p.m. We still have not identified the woman and it's still very early in the investigation. We have an FBI recovery team on its way from New Orleans who will process the scene."
Latiolais also stated that a special "cutting edge" tarp was placed over the woman's body to protect it and preserve evidence from the heavy rains that passed through the area Wednesday afternoon.
According to Jeff Davis Sheriff Ricky Edwards, the Task Force was at the scene and the investigation was very much in it's early stages.
Edwards who spent much of the day working with Acadia Parish Sheriff Wayne Melancon as well as task force reiterated that it "was very early in the investigation, no identification has been made and we are not going to speculate on anything until we have completed our work and get all the facts."
Also on the scene and assisting in the investigation were the Acadia Parish Coroner's Office, the Louisiana State Police, along with authorities from Calcasieu Parish.
The FBI unit arrived Wednesday night and was busy working the scene until well after midnight Wednesday.
The woman's body was transferred to Calcasieu Parish for the autopsy.
The Post-Signal will report more details on this story as they become available.