Unsolved murder on books

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 14, 2001


LAPLACE – It’s been nearly a year since a taxi cab driver was murdered in her home in LaPlace, and St. John the Baptist Parish sheriff’s deputies are eager to solve their only unsolved murder case for the year 2000 and bring justice for the woman strangled to death in her Cambridge Drive home on Easter morning. Tomorrow, Easter Sunday, will be spent by most with family and friends, at church, watching children search for eggs and eating a big dinner with loved ones. But the officers who worked the scene at 2308 Cambridge Drive last Easter will most likely stop for a moment during their day to think about Janice Fugate, the 61-year-old Jefferson cabbie killed on the religious holiday a year ago. After finding an abandoned, empty taxi by the pumping station at the end of Woodland Drive on April 23, 2000, officers scanned the license number which led to Fugate. Upon arriving at her home they found the back door open and searched the house. She was found dead with wounds to the neck and head caused by strangulation. A year later, the case is still unsolved. Though officers have a prime suspect they do not have enough evidence to convict the person after arrest, said Capt. Mike Tregre of the St. John Sheriff’s Office. Tregre said he really believes there are people living in Cambridge Subdivision who have information that could solve the case. “I am confident there are people in the subdivision who saw something, heard something, know something. They’re just too scared to come forward,” he said. “They know something that could give this woman some justice.” According to Tregre, deputies are close to solving the case. “We’re close. We just need one more piece to the puzzle, one missing piece,” said Tregre. “We know someone could end this case.” “We actually have a suspect/suspects who have not been cleared,” added St. John Sheriff Wayne L. Jones. “We have circumstantial evidence, enough for an arrest but not for a conviction. We need a stronger case to present to the court. We’d like to bring closure to this for the family.” Jones said specimens have been taken from the suspects and testing is being done. He believes people have information but are not coming forward because of fear. Tregre added the sheriff’s office will take anonymous calls and anonymous letters. “We just need one phone call to lead us in the right direction. We’ll take care of it after that,” he said. He added that anyone with information can call any person in the sheriff’s office they feel comfortable speaking with. “We’ll meet you in the parish, out of the parish, out of the state. If you’re scared, leave a message. We need to get this person and solve this thing,” Tregre said. Anyone who has information about Fugate’s murder is asked to call Detective Felix Joseph at 652-6338, 652-9514 or 652-2273.