Murder on the Rue Dauphine
The police did what they could to minimize the damage to Father Martinez's reputation. The day after the murder, The Times-Picayune carried no mention that Ramon was nude when the housekeeper discovered his body. There was no mention of sex toys. No mention of used condoms.
The newspaper quoted the NOPD's public information officer, Capt. Marlon Defillo, as saying "It appears it was not a random act of violence, but that he (Father Martinez) may have allowed this person or persons access to the room."
Capt. Defillo didn't speculate on why Father Martinez may have let someone into his room in the middle of the night.
According to what Robert Chidester said later, the news that the murdered man on the fifth floor of the Chateau Le Moyne had been a priest came as a huge shock to him, too. The 20-year-old hustler said that once he read a newspaper account of the killing and learned the true identity of the man he had known as "Mike," he knew he was going to "go to the electric chair" if he were ever caught.
So he fled to Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, detectives had little, if anything, to go on. A man with gray hair. Perhaps dyed red. Possibly cut or otherwise injured. No witnesses. No surveillance video. A killer probably not well known to the victim, at least not well known enough to be in the priest's day planner.
In the first few days of their investigation, detectives searched Father Ramon's living quarters at St. Patrick's Church in Port Sulphur, and the rectory at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in the town of LaPlace, 25 miles north of New Orleans, where Ramon had served as an assistant pastor before being sent to St. Patrick's.
From the two residences, they collected more than 300 pornographic movies and a couple of hundred skin magazines and books.
Yet, with few leads to pursue, it didn't take long before the cycle of death that dumped body after body onto the streets of New Orleans bled the steam out of the investigation.
The case went cold.