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Federal grant helps reopen 40 cold cases

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BATON ROUGE- The State Police Crime Lab in conjunction with local authorities reopened 40 cold cases recently, after receiving a $222,000 federal grant.

The money specifically focuses on solving rapes and murders.

"If the cold case meets the parameters of the grant, the investigating agency could work it and the agency is reimbursed for the OT cost," Louisiana State Police Captain Doug Cain said.

On Tuesday, Ascension Parish Sheriff's Deputies announced they had made an arrest in a 23-year-old murder case.  Jeanie Lavigne's body was found dumped in the woods in Ascension Parish in 1990.  She was raped and her throat was slashed.

Kenneth Lavigne, the nephew of her ex-husband is accused in the murder. Police say his DNA was a perfect match. The case was reopened after the federal grant was made available.

In addition to the 40 cases that have been reopened, 17 DNA profiles have been generated and entered into a DNA Database. Six leads were also generated.

"We certainly hope it helps, that's why analysts at the crime lab work so hard," Cain said.  "It's why they work so hard following up on leads.  We hope we can bring closure to a family and put a suspect responsible for a terrible crime in jail where they belong."

The grant is scheduled to run out this year, however state leaders are already working on an extension.


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