Authorities have arrested a DeQuincy man for the murder of Sierra Bouzigard, a 19-year-old Moss Bluff woman found dead on the side of John Koonce Road about eight years ago.
Bouzigard’s body was found around 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 23, 2009, by a bicyclist on an early morning ride. The cause of death was ruled blunt-force trauma to the head.
Blake A. Russell, 31, 390 Frank St., was charged Monday with second-degree murder after DNA analysis tied him to the crime, said Sheriff Tony Mancuso. His bond was set at $2 million.
The case had gone cold after investigators exhausted all leads and failed to find a DNA match, Mancuso said. But it picked up again in 2015 when they employed the aid of new technology.
Using Snapshot, a type of analysis that extracts physical appearance and other information from DNA samples, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office released a sketch of the killer in September 2015.
Mancuso said the sketch disproved investigators’ original theory that the killer was an Hispanic male. It showed him, instead, as a white male with fair skin, green or blue eyes, and brown or black hair. He said investigators received a number of tips based on the sketch. Then about a month ago, a tip pointed them to Russell, who neatly fit the description.
He said investigators observed Russell over the last several weeks and obtained his DNA from a discarded item. The Southwest Louisiana Regional Crime Lab was then able to match the DNA from the object to DNA recovered on Bouzigard’s body.
Although Mancuso wouldn’t say what led investigators to Russell, he said without the Snapshot profile they might not have found him.
“This is modern-day science and technology with just good old-fashioned police work,” he said. “We could not have done it without either one.”
He said investigators believe Russell and Bouzigard didn’t know each other before the crime. The evidence shows that she tried to fight him off, he said, which helped them obtain DNA samples.
Mancuso acknowledged that Bouzigard was involved in dangerous activity. But he emphasized that she was, regardless, a human being who deserved justice.
“Sierra led a very risky lifestyle, but she’s a victim,” he said. “Let me assure every citizen in Calcasieu Parish no matter their status — rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic — no matter what social economical background you come from, we’re going to do everything we can to try to solve your crime, and I can’t think of a better example than this one.”
He congratulated the many deputies and analysts who worked long hours over the past month to solve the case.
“We have the most talented, the most dedicated people that work at this department,” Mancuso said. “I’m so proud to be their sheriff and so proud to be the one that gets to stand up here, but they get the credit.”
The Sheriff’s Office partnered with the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, Parabon NanoLabs and the FBI on the investigation.
Mancuso said the department is keeping details about the case and motive under wraps to avoid negatively affecting the trial.