Slain teen’s father pleads for killer to confess to Tangipahoa Parish double homicide
INDEPENDENCE, LA (WAFB) - As many people sat comfortably in their homes surrounded by loved ones during the early hours of Christmas Eve, others in Independence, Louisiana frantically searched for answers. No one searched harder than Robert West Sr., who would learn the mother of his children and youngest son were gunned down in what the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office (TPSO) is calling a “tragic incident.”
TPSO officials reported to news outlets Monday, Dec. 24 an investigation was ongoing following the discovery of a woman and boy found dead in a home Sunday, Dec. 23. Family members identified the victims to WAFB as Daytra Miller and her son, Robert West Jr.
“[Daytra] made it home, and was actually about to bring [West Jr.] to me Sunday,” West Sr. said, telling WAFB that at the time of his son’s death, West Jr. was packing to visit his father’s home.
West Sr. added it was a visit he and West Jr.'s siblings were looking forward to. One that tragically would never happen.
“My son was being raised by all of us. He’s the youngest among four girls,” West Sr. explained.
Along with two other brothers, West Jr. was the youngest sibling of six children between his mother and father.
“We were just trying to preach to them how important it is for them to stay together, even if her and I weren’t doing good, or something happened to me or her. As long as they stayed together they’ll be ok,” West Sr. said.
In an emotional plea, West Sr. told WAFB that he’s seeking justice for West Jr.'s siblings, who he says lost it all. You can listen to West Sr.'s statement in the clip below.
West Sr. says investigators are still waiting on the final pieces of evidence to be analyzed by the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab before they release information on a possible person of interest in the shooting. TPSO originally reported they believe the person who committed the “heinous crime” knew the victims, but have since been tight-lipped about information related to the case as not to jeopardize the investigation.
The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office is now offering $2,500 in addition to the $2,500 reward offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to an arrest in the double homicide.
“Anyone that has any information that would help us to solve this unthinkable crime that you would please contact Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office,” said Gloria McGee, a family member.
Many remembered West Jr. for his kind spirit. The principal of Tangi Academy, the school West Jr. attended, released a statement on the murder.
“He was a kind, gentle, helpful, and caring young man who always put others before himself. In one of his latest assignments in Mrs. Garner’s ELA class, he wrote about wanting to be a professional fisherman. He loved fishing because his grandfather taught him how to fish. Robert would always stop in my office to ‘check out’ my fish tank. He even gave me a few tips on the proper ways to care for fish since mine kept dying in the beginning of the school year. I finally got it right and the two that remain have been going strong since early September, thanks to some of his advice,” said Principal Jackie Wilson in the statement.
“My son was a good kid,” West Sr. said remembering his son. “He was a ball player and people loved him. They really loved him."
West Sr. said his fondest memory of his son happened only weeks ago, when West Jr. asked him to attend an event as his “wing man.” On Tuesday, Dec. 25, West Sr. received one of the final photos taken of his son from that dance. You can hear West Sr. tell the story in the clip below.
Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-554-5245.
Copyright 2018 WAFB. All rights reserved.