During the docuseries, Barbara recalled how she asked Necole about her birthday cake and what kind of icing she wanted. Necole responded that it didn't matter as she wasn't going to be there to celebrate — and she wasn't. Journalist Ethan Brown wrote in his book, Murder in the Bayou, that Necole had told friends and family that she had witnessed an earlier victim, Loretta, being 'smothered to death'. Above, Tommy Chaisson, the father of the first victim, Loretta, 28, whose body was found on May 20, in a canal.
He recalled in a new docuseries, Murder in the Bayou, the day that the sheriff told him that his daughter was dead. Loretta's two brothers, Nick and Chad, also participated in the Showtime docuseries. Always a smile on her face, would never hurt nobody,' Chad said. The body of Ernestine Daniels Patterson, 30, was found in a swamp on June 18, A mother of four and former devoted churchgoer, Brown wrote in his book that after her marriage ended, she 'moved in with a violent, drug-addicted boyfriend, and began hustling the streets of South Jennings.
They don't care.
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I don't have no closure, no peace. I can't rest at night. About one month after Loretta's body was found in the canal, a second victim was discovered on June 18, — this time by three men who were 'frogging' in the swamp. On their quest to get some bullfrogs to eat, the men saw what they thought was corpse and called Ernestine Patterson, 30, was a mother of four. A former devoted churchgoer, Brown wrote in his book that after her marriage ended, she 'moved in with a violent, drug-addicted boyfriend, and began hustling the streets of South Jennings.
This time, however, the cause of death was clear: Ernestine had three cuts on her neck and it was ruled a homicide. During the docuseries, Evelyn Daniels looked at a photo of her daughter. As tears fell, she said, 'They found out nothin. Many of the victims' families expressed their frustration with the investigation during the series and a lack of progress to bring the perpetrators of the crimes to justice. In local news reports during the killings, then Sheriff Ricky Edwards referenced the 'high-risk lifestyle,' of the victims due to the fact they engaged in sex work and used drugs.
This infuriated friends and families of the women, and 'most interpreted this to mean that they were unworthy of sympathy or significant law enforcement resources,' Brown wrote. The documentary shows the affluent North Side with its large, well-kept houses populated by the town's professional class and upper crust in contrast to the rundown, smaller homes with peeling paint on the South Side, where drugs are rampant. Ricky Edwards, above, was sheriff from to , and during the time of the 'Jeff Davis 8. The buck stops with the sheriff.
After the third victim, Kristen Gary Lopez, 21, was found in a canal on March 18, , Edwards started to link the women with some of the same crowd, said Lewis.
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In local news reports, Edwards referenced the 'high-risk lifestyle,' of the victims due to the fact they engaged in sex work and used drugs. This infuriated friends and families of the women, and 'most interpreted this to mean that they were unworthy of sympathy or significant law enforcement resources,' Ethan Brown, an investigative journalist, wrote in his book, Murder in the Bayou, which was the basis for the docuseries.
He said: 'As a homicide investigator, it's really hard not to have answers for family members when they call you and you don't have answers for them. A lot of people have no idea how much work was done and what was done, we can't discuss all that'. In the docuseries, Brown explained that Jennings sits almost directly on Interstate 10, saying it is 'a potent conduit, a kind of artery of vice, bringing enormous amounts of drugs from Houston to New Orleans on a daily basis.
You can get it from year-old kids, truly,' Barb Ann Deshotel, a friend of the women, said during the documentary. Brown said: 'The enormous amounts of drugs flowing through Jeff Davis Parish have an incredibly corrupting influence on law enforcement. The temptation to take a piece of a drug seizure is enormous. People told Brown, who reported on the 'Jeff Davis 8' for years and continues to do so, that the seized drugs shown on the local news goes right back out to the street.
Ramby Cormier of the Jefferson Davis Sheriff's Office disputed this allegation, saying, 'People talk about law enforcement involvement in the drug trade - just because there's a drug problem doesn't mean that law enforcement is involved.
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For almost two years, local police investigated the deaths of Loretta and Ernestine but there were missteps along the way, including waiting over a year to test floorboards where Ernestine's body may have been, according to the docuseries. Things kind of get back to normal and people just think it's over and they were wrong,' said Scott Lewis, who reported on the 'Jeff Davis 8' for the local newspaper, the Jennings Daily News. The body was decomposed to the point that dental records were used to identify the third victim, Kristen Gary Lopez, 21, he said.
Kristen had dropped out of school in the eighth grade and was intellectually disabled, according to Brown's book. She was last seen around March 5, but because of her drug use, some friends thought she was on a bender, according to the series.
Bayou Round Up
The cause of her death was undetermined, and like Loretta and Ernestine, drugs were found in her system. After the fourth victim, Whitnei Dubois, 26, was found at an intersection on May 12, , the small town of Jennings was fearful. Roxanne Alexander, who was friends with most of the women, said during a new Showtime docuseries, Murder in the Bayou: 'People were scared. People were scared because the girls were being killed. They was just being thrown away like they was nothing'. The eighth and final victim, Necole Guillory, was found off Interstate 10 on August 19, , seen above in a newspaper clipping from the Jennings Daily News.
It was after Necole was found that the women were referred to as the 'Jeff Davis 8,' according to Ethan Brown, an investigative journalist who wrote the book, Murder in the Bayou, which is the basis for a new Showtime docuseries of the same name. It was also after Necole that the story went national, and Brown, who lives in New Orleans, became interested in the case after reading a New York Times article about the deaths.
It was after Kristen was found that Sheriff Ricky Edwards started to link the women and talk about their 'high-risk lifestyle,' said Lewis, the former local newspaper reporter.
While the first three victims were left in canals, the fourth, Whitnei Dubois, 26, was found near an intersection on May 12, She was found nude in the middle of the road,' Sonya Benoit Beard, her cousin, said during the docuseries. Again, the cause of death was undetermined, and like the other victims, Whitnei had drugs in here system.
In his book, Brown called the year the 'horrible pinnacle' of the case, and with no one brought to justice there was 'an atmosphere of total unaccountability' both on the streets and in law enforcement with 'credible reports of tampered and destroyed evidence. The four women — and the four victims that were to follow — had many things in common as well as connections. They used drugs, engaged in sex work, and had criminal histories that put them in contact with law enforcement, and, at times, in jail.
All were police informants, according to Brown. The fifth victim knew the preceding four. Her name was Laconia Brown, but everyone called her 'Muggy.
She knew something bad was going to happen. Muggy, 23, was found on May 29, The mother of one's throat had been cut, Bessie Brown said. Journalist Ethan Brown, above, has reported on the 'Jeff Davis 8' case for years. His reporting was first published in Medium in , and then in his book, Murder in the Bayou.
He told DailyMail. Scott Lewis, above, was a reporter for the local newspaper, the Jennings Daily News, and covered the 'Jeff Davis 8' murders. Since May , the bodies of seven women were found in canals and on and near roads. On December 18, , then Sheriff Ricky Edwards announced the formation of a task force comprised of local, state and federal agencies. You can get it from year-old kids, truly,' Barb Ann Deshotel, above, a friend of the women, said during the series. Almost four months later, another body was found near a road on September 11, The body was so decomposed, it was to the point of being skeletal remains, said Ramby Cormier of the sheriff's office.
It took nearly two months to confirm the body was Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, 24 and a mother, and it was ruled a homicide, according to the book.
She was a 'latecomer to the world of South Jennings sex work and drugs but she fell in right with the other women and their social networks,' Brown said. Like Muggy, Crystal worried she was next, according to the book. On November 15, , the seventh and youngest victim, Brittney Gary, was found off the highway. The year-old was last seen at a Family Dollar. I think law enforcement knows everything.
Since May of , seven dead women had been found, but the few arrests that were made did not stick, and no one had been tried for the crimes, let alone convicted. On December 18, , then Sheriff Ricky Edwards announced the formation of a task force, saying, 'Our team is comprised of very experienced investigators from eight separate agencies, local, state, and federal. Lewis, the former newspaper reporter, pointed out that even though the FBI was now involved in the investigation, Edwards and the sheriff's office remained in charge.
At the press conference, Lewis said, 'The family members just started to erupt saying nobody from the sheriff's department is talking to them, they're not answering calls, they're not giving them updates. Brown wrote: 'By the end of , there were credible suspects in most if not all of the slayings of the seven women in Jefferson Davis Parish.
It should have been clear to the Sheriff's Office that the victims were inextricably linked — by blood, by sex work, by the places they lived together, sometimes even as a material witnesses to the murder of a fellow victim. But at that task force press conference, Edwards seemed to focus on a serial killer as responsible for the murders, Brown noted, although at one point he had denied such conjecture. Sticking with this theory, Brown wrote, 'kept the public vigilant' and the threat external.
With nine other unsolved murders in the area since Loretta's body was discovered in , Jefferson Davis Parish has one of the lowest homicide-clearance rates in the country — less than 7 percent, compared to a national clearance rate of 64 percent. By the time a task force was announced in late to investigate, seven women had been found dead.
Then Sheriff Ricky Edwards seemed to focus on a serial killer as responsible for the murders, journalist Ethan Brown noted in his book, although at one point Edwards had denied such conjecture. Above, a still from the docuseries based on his book. Brown outlined in his book what he thinks happened to each woman, and most, with the exception of Ernestine, knew or had ties to Frankie Richard, whom Brown described as 'a onetime pimp, strip-club owner, drug dealer, meth addict, and muscle-for-hire.
Girl Meets Bayou
We see both Lee's body and Dajerria Becton's body on the ground, forced there by the hand of a white male police officer. Then we see Beyonce's body laid out atop of a New Orleans police vehicle sinking into the remaining waters left behind by hurricane Katrina. Is it a sacrifice--a death, a homage? Lee and Dajerria are subjects of our gaze. Are they helpless--vulnerable? Then appears Blue Ivy, Beyonce's daughter, hands on hips, afro puffed. She's looking down smiling at our gaze. Is Blue redemption--a child of destiny, of what's to come of black girlhood in the future?
I present a chronology of visual images here, although it's clear to me that chronology and dimensionality cannot contain black existence. In fact, our bodies, experiences, myths, and deaths transcend time and space. Lee foreshadows Dajerria who flashbacks to Lee.