Thursday, January 21, 2016

Killing Fields- Eugenie Boisfontaine- Newspaper Articles from 1997

BY DARK SLEUTH




Discovery Channel's new true-crime series, Killing Fields, continues its investigation into the 18 year unsolved murder case of Eugenie Boisfontaine, which I covered in an earlier post.  



                                        Quick Case Recap:
Eugenie Boisfontaine was a 34 year old LSU student who went missing in June 1997 and was subsequently found murdered on August 7, 1997.  Her remains were discovered in Bayou Manchac, at least 13 miles from where she lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her case went cold, as I detailed in my previous post, in large part because of lack of funds, technology and man-power to investigate.  

The Iberville Parish Sheriff's office reopened the case in mid-2015. In an article from a local paper, the Plaquemine Post South, Sheriff Stassi stated that Discovery's involvement in the case made resources, such as expedited DNA, available that the department could not have afforded otherwise.    

I decided to research the archives of local newspapers to see if her case was being covered by the media in 1997 at the time of her disappearance.  What I found is quite interesting and has not yet been discussed on the show.


                   Articles from The Advocate - Baton Rouge 1997:

On July 23, 1997, The Advocate featured an article, "Police seek woman missing since June 13."  The article stated that Boisfontaine's family had hired a private investigator who distributed flyers with information on her disappearance.  Also of note, an investigator stated that detectives "had no reason to suspect foul play" but were not ruling anything out.  Most surprising of all, it seems that Boisfontaine had been treated for "severe paranoia" in the past and may have acted "strangely if suffering from an acute episode."

Less than a month later, on August 15, 1997, The Advocate published another article, this time announcing the identification of her remains. The article gives the reader a better glimpse into Boisfontaine and her family and mentions again her past affliction with paranoia. Famed forensic anthropologist, Mary Manhein, aka "The Bone Lady" helped identify Boisfontaine's remains. Saddest of all, an investigator is quoted as saying, "This is going to be a tough one," perhaps not realizing how prophetic those words were.  

The (periodic?) bouts of clinical paranoia may explain why Boisfontaine led such a quiet life and did not share many details with friends.  Boisfontaine's withholding of information from friends is mentioned in the 2nd episode of the series, "Buried Secrets."  
It may also make the detectives job more difficult, if they have to distinguish between what Boisfontaine may have perceived as a threat versus what truly was a threat. Ultimately, it adds another perplexing layer to the investigation into her death. 

The articles are available below:




Sources of Information:

The Advocate  online archives:

"Police seek woman missing since June 13" The Advocate 23 July 1997: 8a. Online 21 January 2016.

Moore, Melissa. "Body identified as BR woman missing since mid-June" The Advocate 15 August 1997: 1-B;X, Online. 21 January 2016.

Plaquemine Post South article:
Green, Andrew. "Reopened IPSO cold case premieres on Discovery Channel." Plaquemine Post South 6 January 2016.  Online. 21 January 2016. 
http://www.postsouth.com/article/20160106/NEWS/160109887/0/SEARCH/?Start=1


The entire series & individual episodes are available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video:
http://amzn.to/1Rzixkg




Monday, January 18, 2016

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Civil Rights Era Unsolved Cases

BY DARK SLEUTH

"And we still see, in certain sections of our country, violence and man's inhumanity to man in the most tragic way. All of these things remind us that we have a long, long way to go. For in Alabama and Mississippi, violence and murder where civil rights workers are concerned, are popular and favorite pastimes."

 Excerpt from Dr. Martin Luther King's Commencement Speech at Oberlin College, June 1965 

It has been more than 45 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.  He died, like many others, in the struggle to make this country a more equitable place. Today, let's take a moment to remember and honor their sacrifices by focusing on the current efforts to bring justice to numerous unsolved Civil Rights Era cases.

In 2008, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act was passed.  It was named after one of the most infamous Civil Rights Era murders, the lynching of Emmett Till.  The act was passed with appropriations for investigations by the Department of Justice and FBI of unsolved Civil Rights Era cases.  It enforced collaboration between these federal agencies and state and local law enforcement.

Sadly, unless action is taken, the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act is due to expire in 2017. Many cases may go unsolved or receive a cursory investigation.  These are not easy investigations since all of these crimes occurred more than 40 years ago.  Some of those involved have died or are elderly. In some cases, investigators have encountered a code of silence and complicity by then local law enforcement in the violence. This is evident in the 2011 60 Minutes report by Steve Kroft on the unsolved murder of Louis Allen in Liberty, Mississippi in 1964.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Eugenie Boisfontaine- Killing Fields

BY DARK SLEUTH


Detectives Rodie Sanchez and Aubrey St. Angelo investigate an 18 year-old unsolved murder case in Discovery Channel's new true-crime series, Killing Fields.

The last time anyone saw Eugenie Boisfontaine, a 34 year-old Louisiana State University graduate student, was on June 13, 1997.  




Boisfontaine led a quiet life.  She lived in a garage apartment on Stanford Avenue, across from University Lake in Baton Rouge. She was known to enjoy strolls along the LSU lakes.  It may have been during one of these walks that she went missing.

Although police don't know where she was abducted, on June 14, 1997, a jogger found Boisfontaine's driver's license and credit cards along the path of an LSU lake. Her remains were discovered a couple of months later on August 7, 1997. Boisfontaine was dumped in a bayou roughly 13 miles from where her credit cards were found.

The case eventually went cold.  In mid 2015, the Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office officially reopened the case and reinstated, Detective Rodie Sanchez, who was an original investigator.  He came out of retirement to try to solve a case that haunted him. This marked the beginning of a new investigation and a new true-crime series for the Discovery Channel.


                                                   The Show's Style:
The series follows an active and ongoing homicide investigation in "real" time.  It is open-ended, with no certainty of a satisfactory conclusion.  Will Boisfontaine's killer(s) ever be found? 

Stylistically, Killing Fields borrows from HBO's True Detective


Although Killing Fields is based on real people, it does borrow from the stylized storytelling and visuals of its fictional counterparts.  Some critics have not liked this. I personally don't mind it, so long as the series continues to bring awareness to the case.  

                                    Why did the case go cold?

During the first episode, it was disturbing to note the lack of thorough DNA testing during the initial investigation.   

Journalist Susan Mustafa co-wrote a book on serial killer Derrick Todd Lee. Lee was a suspect in the Boisfontaine murder due to the proximity of his other victims to LSU.  He was eventually excluded by DNA. The book is unfortunately titled, in my opinion, Blood Bath, and it features a section on Boisfontaine.
 

Mustafa describes a family's grief and an investigation hindered by lack of funds.  Panties that were found on the victim were not tested for DNA until years later, at which point they were lost and subsequently found again.  Even if a suspect were identified, problems with the early investigation and misplacement of evidence could hinder the prosecution.


As for the current investigation, it remains to be seen whether or not it will be successful.  For the sake of the entire Boisfontaine family, let's hope for a conclusion that will bring them peace and justice.      

Related Posts:
Killing Fields- Eugenie Boisfontaine- Newspaper Articles from 1997



Sources of Information:
Discovery Channel: Killing Fields website:
http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/killing-fields/

Killing Fields 
Available on Amazon:https://amzn.to/2q0tBwx

Blood Bath book:
Mustafa, Susan D., Tony Clayton, and Sue Israel.  Blood Bath. New York: Pinnacle Books, 2009.
https://amzn.to/2pZozjY

LSUreveille.com article:
Causey, Adam. "Cold Case Reopened: Tests to see if serial killer link exists" LSUreveille.com, March 17, 2004.  Web.  January 10, 2015.
http://www.lsureveille.com/cold-case-reopened/article_5075dc3c-8ab9-5e54-9008-667aa5c030a5.html