Voices from Jennings: Who is Killing Our Women?
Voices from Jennings: Who is Killing Our Women?
The media can only do so much. But it’s the voices of the people who are directly affected that reach out and beg for the rest of us to listen. Jennings, Louisiana is a tiny town with a population of about 12,000. It’s not uncommon for people to know or at least know of just about every one else in the community. But a dark shadow is enveloping Jennings. Walking amongst them is a serial killer. Very little is said by the local police likely because there’s little to be said. It appears that despite bringing in help from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, there isn’t much to go on, much to say regarding the brutal murders of 8 women since 2005. The last one happened two months ago. Jennings is near Cajun country with some signs in both English and French. But the only language that is bringing people together now, or in some cases, driving them apart, is fear. The following is a portion of an email I received from a college student who is from Jennings. Her words are honest, poignant and need to be heard. I am choosing to keep her anonymous.
“I live about 30 minutes from Jennings as I am attending college, but I do return home often. Most of the murders happened while I was still living with my parents in Jennings. I have lived my entire life in a nice suburban section of Jennings, so I never really felt that I was at risk. I also have never done drugs and have no ties to these woman. All of them lived on what our town is not afraid to call “the other side of the tracks.” Jennings is still highly segregated when compared to the rest of the modern world. Thankfully, the younger generation has learned tolerance and it is now not uncommon to see inter-racial relationships between young people in the town (much to many of the parents’ dislike). People are very quick to judge these young women because of the lifestyle that they led prior to their death. I was raised in an extremely conservative Catholic family, and I will be the first to say that Catholics are often the first to point the finger and cast judgment upon others, especially when it comes to basing ones reputation off of their actions. Luckily, as I grew older I began to form my own ways of viewing the world apart from that which was enforced upon me by my elders. These women were loved by their families and friends. The little news coverage broadcasted often displayed great emotion towards the actions that took these women’s lives. I am anxious to see how the recent documentary comes out because I have not been able to personally speak with any of the victims’ families.
I feel safe in my own home. When I am driving through Jennings though, I often find myself glancing around wondering how such a vicious killer could be lurking in my tiny hometown. It’s like we are all looking around saying, “Wow…the serial killer could be the person next to me in the grocery store isle.” It’s hard not to be suspicious. Cases like these ignite a sort of curiosity in people that cannot be put out until justice has been reached. I have always enjoyed criminal justice and it took me a while, but finally I realized that I could help by joining different forums and posting current information and keeping the story alive. I do not really change anything that I do because of this. If I was in town more, I would probably just continue to avoid the areas that I was already told to avoid my entire life. The “other side of the tracks” has always had a reputation of being full of drugs, violence, and prostitution. This case has only brought to light exactly how serious and bad these habits have escalated.
As far as law enforcement, I cannot really say if they are doing enough because no one knows if they are even doing anything at all to further the investigation. The only stories that circulate are often times educated rumors started and spread among citizens. They often include things like the killer is believed to be in law enforcement himself or that there have been numerous other bodies found that have been kept from the public. The statements from actual law enforcement are often few and far between and often do not have anything new or of importance included in their content. The Sheriff, Ricky Edwards, is a well known citizen in Jennings. He has been a member of my church since long before I was born. He and his wife have about 12 kids and a few of them went to high school with me. He has gotten an extremely bad reputation by repeatedly refusing to use the word “serial killer” when it has to be one of the most obvious cases of a serial killer in the history of criminology. There are rumors that he is not speaking to the public because someone has threatened his family. He is still relaying the same messages that he was following the first few murders. It basically pissed everyone off that as more and more women are dying, police are sitting around saying they are buried in investigating, yet we do not get any news of a confirmed suspect or anything. All the while, we have a sheriff…AKA HEAD OF POLICE…making a fool of himself in local and now national interviews. The questions on all of our minds is what is this going to take to get solved? Who is going to save our women from joining their friends corpses in the ground? Why is everything kept so hush-hush by the people who are supposed to be protecting us? We are all on edge and it’s like a while later, we are all saying well I’ll be damned…another girl was murdered.
The articles released by the press are pieces of crap in writing. They often say very little or make empty promises of future updates on 2-sentence long coverage. This only proves it once more that law enforcement is not talking. If I was a member of one of these victims families, I would have lost my mind by now. Eight girls and no justice after years of “investigating.” The modern world is loaded with wonderful forensic tools and technology to solves things like this when ONE person is murdered. Why are there no answers??? Many forums have listed facts regarding the murders that not only piece the murders together perfectly, but include certain people to be connected under very suspicious circumstances. With all of this evidence, why hasn’t an arrest been made? I find myself checking the local news almost daily hoping to see that someone has been arrested for the murder of these poor women. In the back of my mind, I am always wondering when I will receive another text or phone call from a family member or friend back home saying “they found another body.” Since the most current murder, two women in the area have gone missing under suspicious circumstances and were later found safe. The only thing that the news could tell us was what I just stated in this last sentence. WHY AREN’T POLICE TALKING TO US? Do they not understand that more knowledge could allow us citizens to unite and take an active role in the investigation?!?!?! I sometimes find myself staying up at odd hours of the night reading and rereading information about the cases, trying to piece something together somewhere. It’s just not enough. We need more. Two of the bodies were found near two of my friends houses. One was so close to my friend’s house that he and his parents walked outside and could see the blue police car lights from their front porch. They also saw the FBI escalades that pulled up soon after the murder. My other friend’s father heard about the murder by their home from a neighbor soon after it happened. This is some crazy stuff. Jennings is too small to have something like this carry on for so long. Know that even young people care about such a case and that everyone of every age is suspicious and extremely frustrated. We are waiting for justice that should have been delivered long ago.”
The Jefferson Davis Sheriffs Office has created a website with information about the women. If you have any information, however insignificant you may think it is, contact them at (337) 824-6662.
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