Derrick Todd Lee
On April 19, 1998, Zachary, La. police detective David McDavid was playing in a softball tournament in New Iberia when he got a call about the disappearance — and likely murder — of Randi Mebruer.
One of just three detectives in the small department, McDavid made the 100-mile drive back to Zachary in just over an hour.
At the scene, McDavid learned that Randi Mebruer had been snatched from her home while her 3-year-old son, Michael, slept in his bed just a few feet down the hall.
Inside the house, police found the hallway streaked with blood. Someone had attacked Randi in her bedroom, then dragged her down the hall and into the kitchen.
On the floor of the hallway, detectives found Randi's contact lenses. They were side by side, just inches apart. "She was hit hard enough, face down, to knock her contacts out," Sergeant Ray Day recalls.
Day was a patrol officer at the time and assisted with the crime scene investigation.
Drops of blood were splattered from the kitchen to the carport. "It was like she was picked up," Day says.
Beyond the carport, all traces of 28-year-old Randi Mebruer ended.
In the kitchen, Detective McDavid found a bouquet of fresh flowers stuffed inside the garbage can. A pink trash bag lined the can.
Outside in the carport, detectives found a roll of pink plastic garbage bags. Stuck to the outside of the roll was a drop of blood and a trace of semen.
Randi Mebruer's house was in the Zachary subdivision of Oak Shadows. The house sat within spitting distance of the one where Connie Warner used to live.
In 1992, six years before Randi disappeared, 41-year-old Connie Warner vanished from her home. Eleven days later, a truck driver discovered Warner's body lying in a ditch near the state capitol building.
After examining the Mebruer crime scene, Detective McDavid was pretty sure that the murder of Connie Warner and the disappearance of Randi Mebruer were connected. He was also pretty sure of something else.
McDavid looked at one of the other Zachary officers and said, "You know it's going to be Derrick Todd Lee."
Copyright Chuck Hustmyre