Derrick Todd Lee
In July 1997, the Zachary Police Department started receiving a lot of complaints from women about a peeping tom around the Oak Shadows subdivision. Outside one woman's bedroom window, police found footprints in the mud.
Detective McDavid got called in to help find the peeper.
One night on surveillance, McDavid spotted Lee running across the highway that fronted Oak Shadows subdivision. McDavid and the other cops chased after him. Lee cut across the cemetery and gave them the slip.
McDavid checked the parking lot of the bar on the other side of the cemetery. Lee's pickup truck was there. The officers backed off and watched the car with a pair of night vision goggles. Before long, they saw Lee stick his head out from behind a nearby shed. When the cops tried to grab him, Lee disappeared into the woods.
The police went into the woods with man-tracking dogs they borrowed from the Department of Corrections. The dogs found Lee. The Zachary cops grabbed him. They loaded him up with trespassing and peeping tom charges—all misdemeanors. He was fined $400 and placed on city court probation for two years.
Derrick Todd Lee wasn't going to let a little thing like probation stop him.
In August 1999, just a year after Randi Mebruer disappeared, Lee got picked up on stalking and peeping charges in nearby West Feliciana Parish. He got a $300 fine and two more years of probation.
The Mebruer case went cold.
The Zachary police asked the state Attorney General's Office for help. The Attorney General's office sent a couple of investigators, including Dannie Mixon. At 60 years old, Mixon was a dinosaur, a throwback to the days when cops operated mainly on gut instinct. Mixon had been a cop for 40 years and had solved a lot of high-profile cases.
In April 2000, a judge in West Feliciana Parish sent Lee to prison for nine months for beating his girlfriend in a bar and attempting to run over a deputy while trying to avoid arrest.
Lee got out of prison in January 2001.
In September, the bodies started piling up 15 miles away in Baton Rouge.
Copyright Chuck Hustmyre