JENNINGS — For a decade, Brittany Jones has never accepted that her aunt’s death would go unsolved.
The 26-year-old victim, Whitnei Dubois, is one of eight young women whose bodies were found discarded in backroads and bayous in rural areas of Jeff Davis Parish between 2005-2009. To this date, no one has been convicted in their deaths.
Now, 12 years after Dubois’ body was found lying at the intersection of Earl Duhon and Bobby Roads, south of Jennings, her family is hoping for a breakthrough in a new documentary set to air June 15-16 on Investigation Discovery.
The four-part series, “Death in the Bayou: The Jennings 8,” airs at 9 p.m. on the ID channel and or on the IDGo website at www.investigationdiscovery.com.
“I don’t know if the documentary can actually help solve the cases, but I think that it may bring more awareness to the community,” Dubois’ niece Brittany Jones wrote in an email to the American Press.
Jones, who has always considered herself Dubois’ sister growing up, said she hopes the documentary will give people both inside and outside of the community “an insider’s view” of what the families have been through since the first body was discovered in May 2005.
Many of the victims knew each other and had similar lifestyles, involving drug use.
“Before my sister passed, I looked at the perception of these women passing in a different manner,” she said. “It doesn’t hit home until it happens to you, then you see everything in a different light.
“The hardest thing — besides not getting justice — are the negative comments and backlash because of their lifestyles. I really hope that this documentary can bring some insight and better understanding as to how we feel as family members.”
She hopes viewers will see the victims as a “human life” and understand that the victims meant something to someone, not just that they lost their lives to the streets.
Jones feels it is a good thing for the stories to still be getting national attention after 14 years.
“It’s never too late to retell the story again and you never know who it may reach this time that it may be didn’t reach 5-10 years ago,” she said. “There’s always that slim chance of hope that someone out there just didn’t know that the information they had was pertinent to the case.
“I’m confident after all these years these cases could still be solved. I’ll never give up hope that this could be solved, even if it’s not someone within the community, it might be someone outside of it, someone who might not even be aware that they have meaningful information.”
Filming the documentary was emotional for Jones and Dubois’ sister, Taylor Dubois.
“…There were emotional moments and I felt like we were reliving the pain that we lived years ago,” she said. “Then a lot of happy moments when we got to relive happy times.”
Overall, Jones said the experience filming the documentary was positive. She said the crew made sure they were never uncomfortable and always gave them a choice.
“We felt a sense of accomplishment, and even after all these years, we found new information that we never knew before,” she said. “It’s such a difficult thing to lose someone tragically and not have the answers of why that happened. To not know what happened and to not have justice, every time we have another clue or a little bit more information, it’s almost like putting new pieces of a puzzle together.”
Whitnei’s daughter, Beyonce, who was 4 at the time of her mother’s death, was not in front of the camera, but was involved in the project.
“She seeks justice behind-the-scenes and feels pride to be able to support her mother,” Jones said. “She loves her mom dearly and is proud of her no matter what.”
Dubois urges viewers to keep an open mind when watching the show.
“Understand that there are a lot of opinions along the way that have been formed, rumors that have circulated, but not everything that you hear or see is the truth,” she said. “Everyone is entitled to form their own opinions but just remember that these women were loved by so many people, and even though they are gone their family members still have to endure every nasty comment or ugly look.
“Until you experience something like this, you just don’t know,” she continued. “I hope people will watch and view with an open mind.”
Most of the victims have children who must go through life and trying times without their mothers to guide them, she said.