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Cold case grant leads to murder arrest

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GONZALES - Deputies in Ascension Parish said DNA evidence from the rape and murder of Jeannie Lavigne helped them make an arrest 23 years after the crime was committed.

Detectives arrested Kenneth Lavigne, the nephew of the victim's ex-husband, in suspicion of aggravated rape and first-degree murder.

Ryan Lavigne, Jeannie's son and Kenneth's cousin, said it was a shock to find out someone so close to them was being charged.

"The last year there has been speculation, obviously it has been awkward. I never dreamed it would have been someone so close to my family," he said.

Detectives said a grant allowed them to reopen several cold cases along with the Louisiana State Police. They said investigators never ruled Kenneth Lavigne out as a suspect in Jeannie Lavigne's death back in 1990, and when they questioned him again he refused to give them a DNA sample.

Authorities said they were able to obtain one anyway, and Lavigne fled to Mississippi where he was arrested Monday night.


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