The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Team has revamped its investigation into a 2013 homicide that initially was reported as a suicide.
On Nov. 23, 2013, 38-year-old Danny Holt was found dead in a residence on Section Line Road having suffered from an apparent gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities. Reports show an emergency 911 call from a woman who identified herself as Holt’s girlfriend claimed Holt had shot himself in front of her.
That information was quickly determined to be false, Chief Detective Rhonda Jordan said.
According to reports, the girlfriend told investigators she and Holt had been involved in a verbal argument when he retrieved a Winchester .22 caliber gun from inside the home. The girlfriend said that as Holt stood over her while she sat in a chair facing him, Holt placed the barrel of the gun under his chin and pulled the trigger.
Jordan said that while the coroner at the scene marked the death as an apparent suicide, a pathologist report returned the next day revealed there was no way Holt had shot himself.
“There was a good deal of blood at the scene, which made determining what had exactly happened difficult in that moment,” Jordan said. “Once they were able to perform a closer examination, it was revealed to us that Mr. Holt had actually been shot in the back of the head from a short distance away.”
The girlfriend’s clothing was sent to a forensics team, Jordan said, and a blood splatter expert examined the scene. A few weeks later, reports determined the girlfriend had, indeed been sitting in front of Holt when he was shot.
Given that Holt had fallen forward immediately after being shot, Jordan said this gave the girlfriend an unobstructed view of Holt’s killer.
To date, however, the girlfriend has remained uncooperative with the investigation, he said.
“It is my opinion that she is protecting someone,” Jordan said.
Despite the weapon having been recovered from the scene, Jordan said fingerprint analysis has been inconclusive due to the fact the gun was shared often among others who lived inside the home.
While the case has never been closed, Jordan said the cold case team made the decision to add Holt’s case to their own files as a sign of respect and dedication to Holt’s mother. At 83, Mary Holt has continued to stay in contact with detectives, making sure to call the office regularly in hopes of there being any sort of update in the death of her son.
“Throughout the years, her dedication has been unwavering. She deserves closure and we are determined to provide that to her,” Jordan said.
“There is more than one person out there who knows the truth, and we will find them.”
Anyone with any information regarding Holt’s death is encouraged to contact the cold case team at 238-1311.