Showtime's new five-part true-crime series, Murder in the Bayou, explores the strange connections between eight murders of women in and around the town of Jennings, La., the investigations into those deaths, and troubling theories about what happened to the women.
The further one goes down the rabbit hole on these cases, the more connections and details that come into focus. While all this speculation is necessary and worthwhile to secure justice on their behalf, the grisly details in such cases tend to overshadow the people they were before they became victims.
That's especially true for a case like this, where most of the women involved were living on the margins of society due to involvement with drugs or sex work.
So let's shed some light on who the victims of the Jeff Davis 8 murders were beyond all that.
Every single one of the women in this case left behind family who remember them fondly and miss them dearly.
Loretta Lynn Chaisson Lewis (Dec. 26, 1976 – May 27, 2005)
Lewis was a loving mother, wife, and daughter. She and her husband Murphy had two sons, Kenyan and Kendrick. Although Lewis and Murphy were separated at the time of her death, he still was concerned with her well being.
The last time he saw her, he gave her money for food. Like many people close to the victims, he has questions about the thoroughness of the investigation — especially because he wasn't even questioned by police. "The spouse is supposed to be questioned. What was in evidence that ruled me out as a suspect?" he asked when he spoke with author Ethan Brown.
Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson (Sept. 11, 1974 – June 16, 2005)
Patterson had four kids and was a lifelong resident of Jennings. While she is the only victim who did not have a known connection to suspect Frankie Richard, she did at one time work at Wendy's with the mom of the seventh victim, Brittany Gary. At the time of her death, Patterson worked at Iota State University.
Kristen Gary Lopez (Nov. 27, 1985 – March 18, 2007)
According to her aunt, Lopez was "outgoing and well liked." Her childhood friend Jessica says Lopez was withdrawing from friends and seemed scared, constantly looking over her shoulder. At 21, she was one of the youngest victims, and she is dearly missed by her childhood friends and surviving family.
Whitnei Charlene Dubois (Sept. 9, 1980 – May 2007)
At age 2, Dubois was fostered by the Dubois family after being abandoned, along with two older siblings, by her mother. Unfortunately, over the next several years, Dubois was shuffled back and forth until ultimately the Dubois family was able to legally adopt her and one of her brothers.
Unfortunately, that didn't end the tumultuousness of her childhood, but she was fiercely loved by her family, who have fought over the years to make sure she is seen as somebody beyond just "Victim Number 4."
Laconia Shontel "Muggy" Brown (Jan. 25, 1985 – May 2008)
Brown had a 3-year-old son. Before her death, she is believed to have witnessed the murder of at least one of the other victims, Ernestine Patterson.
Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno (July 24, 1984 – Nov. 11, 2008)
Zeno was from Lake Arthur. She enjoyed singing, fishing, and spending time with family, especially her daughter, Ananey. She also left behind a husband, Stanley Zeno, her parents, three siblings, and her maternal grandmother.
Brittany Ann Gary (August 23, 1991 – Nov. 18, 2008)
Gary was just 17 years old and the second victim in her family; her cousin, Kristen Gary Lopez, was the third. According to her obituary, she loved swimming, music, and hanging with her friends and described her as "a friendly and loving person who will be missed by many," including her parents, three siblings, and three of her four grandparents.
Necole Guillory (August 28, 1982 – August 19, 2009)
Guillory had four children: Blaze, Michael, Sky, and Hollie. She was also survived by her parents and three sisters. Her mother feels certain police were involved with her daughter's murder, recalling Guillory told her not to bother with a birthday cake that year because, "I'm not gonna be here," and confided that police killed the other seven and it was a matter of time before she ended up dead, too.