St. Charles natives hope show will help find their kids’ killers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 22, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / January 22, 2000

NEW SARPY – Debby Durapau Murry of Ponchatoula was born and raised in New Sarpy. Cherie Perilloux Walber of Albany is a native of Montz. Theymet at Norco Elementary, and both graduated in the same class at Destrehan High School.

Ironically, each lost a child in an unsolved murder.

On Jan. 29, the Fox Network’s long-running program, “America’s MostWanted,” will focus on the murders of the children of these two former St.

Charles Parish residents.

The show will take a hand at finding clues to each murder and hopefully help answer the questions tormenting each mother – who and why.

Each case has a $10,000 reward for information, from Crimestoppers, the Kassie Lynn Federer Reward Fund and the Carole Sund/Carrington Foundation.

The date was April 4, 1998. Eric Walber, 16, was making a last deliveryfor Pizza Express. In the small town of Albany, where most homes sit onlarge tracts of land rather than small subdivision lots, people know each other. Eric made that last delivery at 8:30 p.m. on Blabut Road in Albany.His battered body was later found by the side of Crisp Road near Pumpkin Center, little more than a mile away.

“He was working for money for a ski trip to Colorado with his church group. He was to go the next morning and planned to stay at a friend’shouse,” Cherie Walber said. “He had goals in life and willing to work forthem.”By 11:30 p.m. the friend called in search of Eric. The hunt began, withpolice initially thinking he was only overdue from the Strawberry Festival. At 2 a.m., the chief of police arrived with the bad news.Somewhere Eric had been confronted by one or more people. He was robbedof his money and taken out of his car and chased down Crisp Road, where he was run over repeatedly. A tire crushed his head.His abandoned car was found four days later.

“We just don’t know,” his mother said. “We don’t have a clue.”Eric was a good son, worked hard cleaning a used-car lot to earn his prized 1988 Ford Escort. “He was a gorgeous child, but he was so shy,” hismother recalled.

The second murder occurred Sept. 13, 1999. Kassie Lynn Federer, 19, wasfound shot to death in her off-campus apartment in Baton Rouge. Her doorhad been kicked open, but she was not robbed or sexually assaulted. Herbackpack was missing.

Neighbors in the family-oriented apartment complex heard the shot at 3:30 p.m. and saw a blond-haired man fleeing the scene. The suspect wasfurther described as in his mid-20s, fair skin with freckles, 5 feet 9 inches in height and 185 pounds.

During questioning of apartment management, a maintenance man revealed he had seen and talked to a man answering the same description. He haddiscovered the man in Kassie’s apartment “as though he belonged there” one week prior to the murder while Kassie and her roommate were at classes at LSU.

Debby Murry has no clue who that person could have been. Questioning ofthe roommate and their friends turned up no one fitting the description.

“It may have just been random, or he may have been after her,” Debbie Murry said.

“She had just gotten home from class and was getting ready for her job at Eckerd,” the mother continued.

The blonde-haired student was a psychology major who planned to work with children.

“She was a good kid who went with a good crowd,” her mother recalled.

Kassie and her roommate had only been in the apartment for two months and had no idea an intruder had been there.

Debby Murry added, “The police have been very good and kind to us, but they don’t have a lot to go on.”After Eric’s murder, Murry sent condolences to her longtime friend who, meanwhile, had joined a support group and worked with the local police to send a request to the Fox television program’s host, John Walsh.

Fortunately, Walsh made a public appearance at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, and Murry joined with her friend Cherie to get their story directly to Walsh. The direct approach worked.Film crews spent three days earlier this month filming in Baton Rouge, Independence and Albany. The show is due to air Jan. 29.”Debbie and I really hope with this exposure somebody will call in with a tip that will lead to whoever did this,” Federer said.

Murry added, “The right person may see something. If they killed oncethey’ll kill again, and I don’t want to see another child die.”

Return To News Stories