Justice for Jennifer: The search for truth continues - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Justice for Jennifer: The search for truth continues

Jennifer Broussard (Source: WAFB) Jennifer Broussard (Source: WAFB)
ZACHARY, LA (WAFB) -

"Mrs. Broussard was a fighter." "It could be self-inflicted." "She could not do it to herself." "They let us contaminate the house." "We’re keeping it as an open case."

What you are reading, comes from the voices that surround Jennifer Broussard now. So many voices, But the one everybody would love to hear from has been silent for almost a year now. Let’s start you at the beginning.

On December 11, 2014, a call comes into 911. A woman says she’s been burned, the skin coming off of her body. Paramedics race to the home in Zachary. Jennifer Broussard answers the door. She doesn’t remember what happened to her, she doesn’t remember who or what burned her. She just knows she wants to get back into a tub full of water because it makes the burns feel better.

Her sister Amanda Hunt remembers that horrible day. "Her body went into complete shock. She completely shut down. We had bits and pieces of what she said to paramedics and it wasn’t much of anything."

And they wouldn’t get much more from her. She was taken to the Baton Rouge General Burn Center, but she never regained consciousness. Eight days later, on December 19, Jennifer Broussard was dead.

"Feels like a huge hole," Amanda said. "We were all so close. All the brothers and sisters were super close.”

And now the family is left with how and why. Questions that haven’t been answered in almost a year. Questions they believe were made more difficult from the very beginning.

"The lack of investigation, really has provided no answers for us," Amanda said. "The paramedics picked her up, the responding officer never laid eyes on her. I think that’s where the miscommunication fell."

That’s because this was initially a medical call, and not thought to be a crime scene. But in a short amount of time, that became a possibility. So was the home then treated correctly, like a possible crime scene?

"Based on the information we had, being on the reports, yes the scene was looked through" said Zachary Police Chief David McDavid. "We checked to see if there was any evidence of a chemical burn."

Could this be a chemical burn? Could it be a thermal burn? And the bigger question, who did this? Her family feels one way about that question.

"The way her burns were, she could not do it to herself. Burns on her back," Amanda said.

Investigators with Zachary PD aren't on that page.

"I mean it could be self-inflicted" said Chief McDavid. "Something that will be determined by the coroner or the doctor that performed the autopsy.”

But in fact, that’s not something that can be determined. Not in this case. Not yet.

"Ms. Broussard was a fighter" said Shane Evans, Chief of Investigations with the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office. "She held on after her injuries. She was burned somehow, and because of the amount of time and through the hospital’s efforts to save her, the evidence we need as far as what burned her skin, we don’t know."

So the coroner needs more evidence, and those who worked the scene, simply don’t have any more to give right now. A horrible loop that doesn’t lead to answers. The family contends though, the answers were in that home that day.

"They let us contaminate the house. We did because we were cleaning it," recalled Jennifer's mother, Marsha Lynch. "We found some wet clothes and we called them and asked them, do you want us to save this? 'No, we don’t need that,' they said. So I picked it up and was washing it. Then they called and said, we do need that."

Potential evidence lost at a scene that was, according to those police reports, looked through. So where does that leave the case now? Zachary Police said it’s an open investigation. So does the Coroner’s Office.

"This case in our view is still open and undetermined," said Evans. "If additional evidence comes to light that law enforcement can provide us, this can always be changed and updated."

Again it comes down to evidence collected at the scene.  A scene that was not your normal medical call, and not your normal crime scene.  So should the way these unusual scenes are handled, change?  Depends on who you ask. Chief McDavid isn't 100 percent sold on the idea.

"It might be protocol that all the agencies come together, something unusual. Maybe we need to call the coroner. Do they have the experience? I don’t know.”

Jennifer's family, on the other hand, hopes a change is made.

"If policies do get changed, if protocols get changed because of us speaking out, or we do get answers, I’m happy with that."

No matter the answer. Just knowing is what they need. They need to know what happened to their big sister. 

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