Mayeaux murder investigation ‘active’ but ‘cold’

 

By GARLAND FORMAN
    Avoyelles’ most notorious unsolved murder is “still an active investigation,” but is also “cold,” Assistant District Attorney Mike Kelly said. In the meantime, one person who may have information to solve the case remains in jail.
   Four years ago this week, Christina “Christine” Normand Mayeaux was found murdered in her house on La. Hwy 452 just outside the Marksville city limits.
   Until the tragic killing of 6-year-old Jeremy Mardis on Nov. 3, the Mayeaux murder was the parish’s most talked about case.
   There are several “persons of interest” in the case, but no one has been charged with the murder.
   Jared Tidwell is serving 30 years in the state prison at Angola for obstruction of justice in connection with the case. He was convicted in May 2013, but has not revealed any information to investigators about anyone else that may have been involved. He was found to be a three-time felony offender, so his sentence was enhanced.
   Investigators believe Tidwell has information about the murder because he helped clean up the scene.
   Kelly argued at trial that Tidwell intentionally distorted or tampered with evidence at the scene of the crime that could have an effect on future criminal proceedings in the case.
 
Still active, but cold
    “This is still an active investigation,” Kelly said. “It could also be said the case is cold. We still get a lead every now and then. We follow up on the lead, but nothing has ever led to charges being filed.”
    The lead investigator was APSO  detective Joseph Whitmore, who died last December. Jeremy Honea is now the lead investigator on the case.
    Police said a large amount of bleach was used at the scene to destroy DNA, fingerprints and other evidence. Bleach had been used on the walls and floors of the house. Several items were put on Mayeaux’s bed and then doused with bleach. Bleach was poured over Mayeaux, causing an orange discoloration of her hair.
    The other “persons of interest” named during the four-year investigation are Trampus Bernard, Chad Tidwell, Heather Foster Rivas, Kayla Guillot and Larane Pierce.
    Guillot killed herself before Jared Tidwell went to trial. Rivas has moved to Colorado to be near her father, Louis Foster. Bernard has been in and out of jail on other unrelated charges.
    Pierce, who was Bernard’s mother, was killed by U.S. Marshal’s agents in December 2012 at Marcel’s Upholstery, near Marksville, where she was employed. Marshals had gone there to arrest her for armed robbery in a case unrelated to the Mayeaux murder.
    During Tidwell’s trial, there was testimony that Mayeaux and Pierce drove to New Orleans on Dec. 3, 2011 to pick up prescription drugs. Mayeaux called her mother and said everything had gone well.
    Kelly said police went to the house on Dec. 5, 2011 and noticed a strong smell of bleach. Investigators found Mayeaux with stab wounds to her body and throat. She was also struck in the head with a golf club, but forensic pathologist Dr. Christopher Tape said the blow did not break the skin or fracture the skull. The blow was not hard enough to kill her, but could have disoriented her prior to the fatal attacks.
    Tape said one of the wounds punctured her liver. Her throat had two long cuts that severed the external jugular vein but didn’t go through the muscle to the internal jugular vein. He felt the wounds to the throat and liver were the cause of death.
   Tape said Mayeaux had several defensive wounds on her hands and arms, indicating she  fought with her attackers.
   Under cross-examination by defense attorney Ed Larvadain, Tape said Mayeaux was under the influence of prescription drugs and cocaine but did not die of a drug overdose. He said she died from her wounds.

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