Also known as the Jennings Eight. This is a case that begins in 2005 and remains unsolved. In total there are eight victims who were all found in the swamps and canals surrounding Jennings, Louisiana; in Jefferson Davis Parish. There have been numerous instances of ineptitude within the Sheriff’s office and people have named several law enforcement officers as suspects.
In May 2005, a man fishing in the canal around Jennings, LA, he originally thought it was a mannequin that someone had left in the canal, but then he saw the flies and knew that mannequins do not attract flies. This was a human body.
The woman was identified as 28 year old Loretta Lynn Chaisson Lewis. She was a known local sex worker but there were no leads to find who may have killed her. Loretta was the first of eight women in the next four years who would be killed in a similar fashion.
All of the women had bizarre and unlikely similarities in things such as their upbringing, their involvement in sex work, drug addiction and the people they knew. All of them knew shady characters, and they talked, sometimes with law enforcement, about the things they knew on prior murders, and it apparently was a lot of information they knew.
The victims also included: Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson, 30; Kristen Gary Lopez, 21; Whitnei Dubois, 26; Laconia “Muggy” Brown, 23; Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, 24; Brittney Gary, 17; and Necole Guillory, 26.
It wasn’t until December of 2008, when a task force was formed to catch the person responsible for the murders. Authorities announced they were looking for a serial killer.
Journalist Ethan Brown makes a compelling case against the notion that the killings are from a serial killer. The more he looked the more he found of misconduct and corruption in the local law enforcement. The same law enforcement on the task force.
Mr. Brown stated that it was pretty clear that these killings did not following the FBI’s definition of a serial killer as the victims all knew each other, and this wasn’t something that was found with serial killers. They targeted victims that didn’t know each other or them. Kristen Gary Lopez and Brittney Gary were cousins. Brittney Gary and Crystal Benoit had been roommates. They had all engaged in sex work at the same seedy motel in Jennings. All but one of them, Ernestine Patterson, had been involved with an infamous local pimp and strip club owner named Frankie Richard.
Another aspect that is disturbing because of it’s frequency is that these women would all offer information to the police about a prior murder, and they were then dead shortly after. Many of the residents pointed to law enforcement as being responsible for at least some of the murders. Each of the victims spent time in the local jail and reports note that jailers often trafficked female inmates — including some of the victims — for sex.
And so the Jeff Davis Eight murders remain unsolved. It shouldn’t matter that these eight young women were sex workers or struggled with drug addiction. Their lives still mattered. But law enforcement in the town where they were murdered seem to have discarded them like trash. Here’s hoping the person who killed these women will one day be brought to justice.
Be strong, make good choices, stay safe