“Between 2005 and 2009, the bodies of seven more women would be discovered around the swamps and canals that ring Jennings, a staggering body count for a tiny sliver of a town of about 10,000. Along with Lewis, the victims were Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson, 30; Kristen Gary Lopez, 21; Whitnei Dubois, 26; Laconia “Muggy” Brown, 23; Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, 24; Brittney Gary, 17; and Necole Guillory, 26.”
So writes Ethan Brown, an investigative reporter who spent two years studying the case of the Jefferson Davis Parish, where eight dead prostitutes washed ashore around a small Louisiana community called Jennings. Mr. Brown, who gave his exhaustive report on Medium, was able to uncover that the supposed serial killings–which in 2008 required a multi-agency investigative team of FBI, sheriff, and local law enforcement–although left unsolved, actually linked the prostitutes to high-level police officers. Multiple pieces of evidence tied police to the murders, the most important being that several members of the Jeff Davis 8 witnessed the 2005 shooting of a drug-dealing pill-doctor by an officer. Others had been on the verge of speaking out about police corruption.
The similarities between this high-profile case and the otherwise overly-complicated weirdness of True Detective is no coincidence. Creator and sole writer Nic Pizzolatto grew up 30 minutes away from Jennings in Lake Charles, LA, where the cases were covered extensively by local media. (Lake Charles also makes a cameo on the show in relation to the murders.) The name of the Jennings police chief accused of sexual harassment and corruption in 2008 is Donald “Lucky” DeLouche, which can almost be rearranged to form that of the kingpin meth-head on True Detective, Reggie LeDouxe. Also, a detective on the scene in 2007, Sergeant Jesse Ewing, continued like Rust Cohle to uncover the truth about what was going on in his crooked department for years afterward.
Mr. Brown told The Observer:
(True Detective) is based in Erath, which is in Vermilion Parish, another parish just a few miles away from Jeff Davis. One of the lead suspects in my case, Frankie Richard, used to run in Vermilion. He caught quite a few cases out there.
And in case this wasn’t enough to convince you, Mr. Pizzolatto has tweeted about the case:
Even if this case is only used a reference, a la The King in Yellow, it’s a pretty good guess that it’s also a spoiler alert for what we already suspected about the murders in True Detective: That the cops are in on it at a very high level, and this wasn’t the work of a lone, pseudo-philosophical serial killer.