Suspect Named In Serial Killings

Published: May. 26, 2003 at 1:45 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2003 at 8:32 PM CDT
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Derrick Todd Lee
Derrick Todd Lee
Suspect Sketch Released Friday May 23rd
Suspect Sketch Released Friday May 23rd

After more than 10 months of investigating the Task Force has named a St. Francisville man as the prime suspect in the serial killings of at least five south Louisiana women. Authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of 34-year-old Derrick Todd Lee for the murders of Gina Wilson Green, Charlotte Murray Pace, Pam Kinamore, Dene' Colomb and Carrie Lynn Yoder.

Lee is described as a light-skinned black male with short black hair, brown eyes, 6'1", approximately 210 pounds, and a muscular build. Authorities say Lee's last known residence was 4273 Highway 61, St. Francisville, LA.

The arrest warrant issued Monday by East Baton Rouge parish, charges Lee with the first degree murder and aggravated rape of Carrie Lynn Yoder. The warrant states a DNA sample obtained from Derrick Todd Lee on or about May 5, 2003 matched a DNA sample taken from the body of 26-year-old Carrie Yoder. Yoder is the fifth confirmed victim of the serial killer. She was forcibly taken from her home between 6 p.m. and midnight on March 3, 2003. Ten days later, police recovered her body from a canal in Whiskey Bay off Interstate-10. An autopsy determined that Carrie Yoder died of strangulation following a severe beating and rape. Swabs taken during the autopsy yielded a male DNA, which matched the DNA of the man responsible for the murders of Gina Wilson Green, Charlotte Murray Pace, Pam Kinamore and Dene' Colomb.

Green, 41, was strangled to death in her Stanford Ave. home. Pace, 23, was stabbed to death in her Sharlo Ave. townhome. Kinamore, 44, was abducted from her Briarwood Estates home, and was found with her throat slashed underneath the Whiskey Bay Bridge off Interstate-10. Colomb, 23, was found beaten to death in a rural field in Scott, LA.

This latest development comes just three days after authorities released a sketch of a man wanted for three incidents, including an attempted rape, in the Breaux Bridge and St. Martin Parish area. In one of the incidents the suspect was driving a 1997 gold Mitsubishi Mirage. Sources say friends of Derrick Lee recognized the car -- saying that it belonged to a woman that Derrick Lee had been married to.

But it was the murder and disappearance of two Zachary women, who's cases had gone cold, that led police to pursue Derrick Lee as a possible suspect earlier this month. Lee was the prime suspect in the 1992 murder of Connie Warner and the 1998 disappearance of Randi Mebruer. Authorities say that was the reason they were able to harvest his DNA to be tested against the DNA left at the crime scenes of the five known victims. -- Lee, who obviously knew his DNA would blow his cover, is now on the run.

The FBI has also issued a warrant for Lee's capture. FBI Agent Mark Grant said, "We have filed an unlawful flight to avoid prosecution warrant against Mr. Lee and will have agents throughout the country in case anyone can give any information about his whereabouts."

Authorities say they do not know what type of vehicle Derrick Todd Lee is driving. However, they say he should be considered armed and dangerous. If you know of Lee's whereabouts, you are urged to call your local law enforcement agency or the 24-hour serial killer tip line at 1-866-389-3310.

Case To Enter New Phase

It was a show of force and confidence as members of the Multi Agency Task Force walked to the podium to release the big development in the serial killer investigation. Baton Rouge Police Chief Pat Englade was the first to speak at the conference, which was held at 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

After identifying Derrick Todd Lee as the man the Task Force has been hunting down for the past 10 months, Chief Englade acknowledged several agencies for their support throughout the investigation.

"The Task Force would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Attorney General's Office, Zachary Police Department and the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab," said Chief Englade. "Their dedication and commitment to this effort has been instrumental in the identification of this suspect."

Also present was East Baton Rouge District Attorney Doug Moreau. Moreau asked U.S. Attorney David Dugas to stand beside him as he acknowledged the "immeasurable" and "tireless" contributions of federal officers and agencies. Moreau said he hopes Dugas will continue to be involved as the investigation enters this new phase.

"This case will enter into a new phase upon an arrest," said Moreau. "And, as you know there are limitations that exist in regard to prosecution. -- Our goal is to have a trial in East Baton Rouge parish and every decision that we make will be intended to assure that will happen."

Town Of St. Francisville Shocked That The Serial Killer Was In Their Own Back Yard

The quaint town of St. Francisville is shuddering in disbelief after learning police believe the man who brutally killed at least five women grew up among them -- in their own backyard. In fact, Derrick Todd Lee lived only about three miles from the West Feliciana Sheriff's home.

West Feliciana Sheriff Austin Daniel said, "I received a call about 10 last night from Chief Englade asking us to come down to OEP. -- He said the serial killer's in your backyard."

At daybreak this morning, Task Force investigators swept in to Lee's last known residence at 4273 Highway-61 in St. Francisville, LA. Authorities not only combed Lee's house, but also his mother's home just down the road and the apartment of a girlfriend living in Jackson. However, authorities found nothing in the three homes. They say the Lee residence appeared to have been abandoned for quite some time.

Lee was born and raised in St. Francisville. He attended Baines Elementary and West Feliciana High School. And although his criminal record includes peeping tom and stalking charges of at least two women in St. Francisville, people who knew Lee well are shocked he's accused of such brutality.

Nikki Brown, a store clerk at St. Francisville convenient store, sold Lee a coke and newspaper everyday for two years. She says she's never seen him have a mood swing or change his outgoing disposition. -- "He was so nice. He talked to everybody. That's why its so hard to believe he's the serial killer. I still can't believe it," said Brown.

Employees at the Lee children's school say their mother, Jackie, abruptly withdrew her son and daughter from school about two weeks ago, saying they were moving to California. That is of course - right around the time Lee was originally swabbed.