Identity of one body determined by DNA test

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2008


Staff Reporter

LAPLACE – Authorities in St. John Parish have determined the identity of one of two bodies found over a span of two days in the parish last week, with the other identity pending DNA testing, said a spokesman for the department.

Maj. Mike Tregre, public information officer for the St. John Sheriff’s Office said investigators have determined that a woman’s body found under a burned mattress on April 9 was that of 37-year-old Tiffany J. Blythe of LaPlace. He said the investigation into her death has been classified as a homicide.

Tregre explained that deputies used Blythe’s fingerprints to determine her identity. He said her prints were on file with the Sheriff’s office from previous arrests for prostitution and possession of drug paraphernalia. Blythe’s actual cause of death was still pending an autopsy report.

Blythe’s body was found after firefighters were called to the 100 block of Medallion Court by a neighbor reporting a brush fire behind a group of trailer homes on the street. The report said Blythe’s body was badly burned.

Blythe was the daughter of Robert C. Blythe, owner of a local barbecue restaurant in the LaPlace area.

Meanwhile, St. John authorities are awaiting DNA test results to determine the identity of another woman, whose headless body was found floating in the Mississippi River on April 7.

Tregre said investigators believe the body may be that of a St. James Parish woman, who has been missing for sometime. He said detectives determined the possible match after sending out a nationwide bulletin regarding the discovery of the body, and that investigators are comparing DNA from the body with DNA from a family member.

Tregre said the body, which was discovered floating near Reserve by a barge employee working near the Port of South Louisiana, might have been in the water for more than a year.

 He said the missing head could be attributed to decomposition of the body in the river. Foul play is not suspected in the woman’s death.