~ A Serial Killer in Jennings, Louisiana – Part 8 ~

Behind The Yellow Tape – A Serial Killer in Jennings, LA – Part 8

Host:  Joey Ortega
:  Murphy Lewis (spouse of 1st victim Loretta Chaisson Lewis)
Airdate:  Fri, Jul 29, 2011

Recap of the show:

Murphy Lewis returned to the show for a second time to continue discussion about his wife’s unsolved case.  When asked why he had waited so long to speak publicly about his wife’s death and why now, Murphy explained that since he had no answers about her death he felt it was just wiser to stay out of the media.  He was also concerned that speaking out might have traumatized his children, who are his top priority, even further.  He also explained that the social climate has changed since the deaths began occurring and people are less trusting and concerned that law enforcement is not exposing evidence related to the deaths.

Joey asked Lewis what he thought had happened to his wife since he knew her better than anyone.  Lewis explained that Loretta had gone into the hospital about a year prior to her death and at that time was prescribed medication for seizures.  He feels that if she was “doing something she shouldn’t have been doing” around the time of her death she had probably stopped taking the medication.  His “educated guess” is that Loretta probably had a seizure and whoever she was with “freaked out” due to possibly being under the influence of drugs themselves and didn’t handle the situation rationally.

Although not able to go into great detail, Murphy has seen information that has led him to believe rather than being brought to a hospital or someone calling an ambulance, Loretta was taken to “someone’s” house for the purpose of trying to revive her.  When she couldn’t be revived, he believes the person she was with “freaked out even more” and that’s how she ended up where she was found.

Joey asked if Murphy’s information had come from someone that was actually with Loretta when the seizure happened and Murphy stated that it “had not” but could not go into much detail about that either.  He did say however, he’d seen information that the person whose house she was taken to admitted that she had been brought there and that the reason was to try to revive her.

Asked if this information has been shared with law enforcement, Lewis said “yes”…..he’s brought it up to them several times and wonders why it has not been pursued more aggressively.  He would like to know WHO the person is that brought Loretta to that house and WHY this person’s name has not been mentioned.  He would like to know why the person did not seek medical attention for her and why they didn’t contact him or another family member.

Ortega asks Lewis how long it was before he was questioned by police regarding Loretta’s death and seems a bit taken aback when Lewis replies that it was about 4 years later!!!  Ortega comments that it makes no sense to him why law enforcement would wait that long to question a husband whose wife has died under suspicious circumstances and that it is standard protocol to question those closest to a victim first.  Murphy doesn’t understand why he wasn’t questioned sooner either.  He was in town and was available to be questioned.  He says he’s often wondered what police saw in their evidence that would cause them to rule him out as a suspect from the beginning.  He feels that whatever it was, it was enough that they should have been able to “connect-the-dots” somehow.  Ortega asked Murphy if any arrests were made in connection with Loretta’s case in the 4 years prior to him being questioned and Lewis stated “not that he was aware or informed of”.

Although Murphy & Loretta had separated as a couple, they still remained the best of friends.  He told Joey the last time he saw Loretta alive was the Sunday prior to her body being found 5

Loretta Lewis' body found in the Grand Marais Canal

Loretta Lewis’ body found in the Grand Marais Canal (click to enlarge)

days later on Friday.  He had taken her out to eat and then took her to meet up with a friend of hers.  She kissed him good-bye and thanked him for being such a good daddy to their two children.  Joey asked if law enforcement was aware the couple were separated at the time of her death and Lewis said he didn’t know that answer but that he was sure they at least knew the two were married because “they were pretty popular for calling the cops on each other”.

Joey, who sounds like he’s stunned and/or amazed at this point, recaps what Murphy has told him so far…..”So, the deceased victim is married but estranged from her spouse AND the couple has a history of calling law enforcement on each other AND….even though the victim appears to have died under questionable circumstances…..her spouse is not questioned until 4 years later”.  Lewis goes on to explain he was questioned by law enforcement at HIS request.  After the Task Force was formed, a friend of his (who had also had a family member found deceased) arranged for Lewis to meet with a member of the Task Force that the friend had come to trust.

Ortega questions why…..after a large, multi-agency Task Force (which included the FBI) was formed that it never occurred to any of them within that “think tank” of trained professionals to question the husband (who had never been interviewed) of the 1st victim???  His efforts to get some questions answered about the Task Force are being dodged by both the FBI Field Office and Jeff Davis Parish Sheriff Ricky Edwards.  The FBI is not at liberty to say much because they are not the lead investigative agency on the cases.  Ortega would like to know WHO and HOW MANY are on the Task Force at this time.

What Joey has been able to learn is that at one point, detectives on the Task Force were assigned to investigate each crime individually and then come together and determine, objectively, if there were any connections between the cases.  He asked Murphy if a detective had ever been assigned to Loretta’s case and Murphy replied he believed one had been assigned but could not recall the person’s name.  Lewis did however remember the detective was married to Loretta’s cousin which elicited a big “WOW” from Joey!!!

Ortega said this just raises more questions to him.  He doesn’t understand where law enforcement is going with their investigation or IF they’re even investigating.  He intends to keep reaching out to them in hopes that “someone” will step forward and give an accounting of what’s going on.  He strongly encourages victim family members to come forward and talk to him and let him know what questions they have.  They need to ask those questions of law enforcement as well and DEMAND answers…..not just settle for “we’ve got leads we’re following”…..ask for specifics.

Joey asks Murphy if he thinks there’s a serial killer involved because to him, from what Lewis described about Loretta’s circumstances, it does not sound like a serial killing…..it sounds more like it was a horrible accident that led to some bad decisions being made which made a tragic situation even more tragic.  Lewis is not sure about the 1st couple of cases but says he thinks at some point the deaths may have evolved into serial killings because some of the cases do seem to have serial killing patterns to them.

Murphy would like for all of the family members of each victim to come together and try to determine if there are common denominators between the cases and see if they might be able to piece some information together.  He would like to organize and ask questions such as…..“where was each victim last seen”…..”who were they last seen with”…..”was there a certain place they hung out at”…..”was there a certain vehicle in the area where they were last seen”.  Joey agrees this should be done and wonders why it hasn’t been already…..there are some good questions being raised that need to be answered.

Asked if he had any more he would like to add to the discussion, Lewis said he is “encouraged” and has been in touch with a few other family members that have expressed interest in being on Joey’s radio show and/or getting more actively involved in some sort of way.  He feels like the “fear barrier” is being broken down and that may be a huge step towards getting answers.

When asked what he thinks people are “afraid” of…..Murphy answered, “retaliation, repercussions, maybe being charged/accused for something”.  He said people might consider that “conspiracy theory” but the most common thing he hears when talking to victim family members is “they’ll retaliate…..do something to me”.

In closing, Joey hopes others will consider coming forward to talk with him.  He’s “not going anywhere” and the radio show is not just “a one-hour special”.  He intends to stick with the cases and is “not going away”!!!!!

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