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LSU grad's murder in Tigerland remains unsolved three decades later

1 month 3 days 1 hour ago Thursday, September 19 2019 Sep 19, 2019 September 19, 2019 4:48 PM September 19, 2019 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Next month will mark 33 years since Jay Pratt made a gruesome discovery inside his niece's Tigerland apartment. 

Laurie Kay Samson had not shown up for work, which was extremely unusual. When Pratt went to check on her in October 1986, he was not prepared for what he'd find.

"I found her dead on her bed against the wall," Pratt said. "Her leg was all I saw and it was discolored, blue and it scared the hell out of me. I turned around and ran so fast it was unbelievable."

Samson was strangled and left nude in her apartment. Police have never said whether she was sexually assaulted. 

"It's something someone should not be able to get away with," Pratt said.

Samson had graduated the year before from LSU and was beloved by her family and friends. 

"She was a wonderful person," Pratt said.

Since her death, her family has only wanted to find justice. But, her father never got to see it. He died about 15 years ago, and her mother was not well enough to do an interview.

Pratt is not confident that justice will ever come. 

"It's tragic that they did not get to see justice done," Pratt said.

Baton Rouge Police homicide detectives said they continue to look into this case. According to detectives, officers back in 1986 did a good job of preserving evidence.

Detective Bryan Ballard said, "A lot of the things we have access to now in 2019, we didn't have access to back then. These guys had the foresight to collect things that we would test later down the line...working hand-in-hand with the State Police Crime Lab."

However, none of that information has materialized into any leads. 

Following Samson's murder, a number of people were questioned but that also did not lead to any arrests. The nature of the crime mixed with Samson's young age still has detectives reviewing the case from time to time. 

"This is one of the ones that has stuck out from the cold case division that we will try to pick up when we can and look into some more," Ballard said. 

As Pratt prays for justice someday, he had this message for the person who killed his niece and left him with a permanent scar of what he saw: "Burn in hell."

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