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New evidence, positive identification made in 1986 'Man in the Well' case
SABINE PARISH - Authorities announced a critical discovery in a Sabine Parish cold case that's been under investigation for 35 years.
According to a Tuesday evening update from the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office, human remains that were discovered in a local well back in 1986 have now been identified.
With the assistance of LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES), authorities have been able to link the remains to a 58-year-old Grand Isle man named Lester Rome, who was reported missing to Jefferson Parish authorities in 1984.
Two years after Rome went missing, a Sabine Parish landowner found human skeletal remains in a water well on his property.
At the time, though some of the skeletal remains were recovered, a positive identification could not be determined.
In October 2013, LSU's FACES Laboratory made a possible connection with the remains from the well and Lester Rome.
The skeletal remains had shotgun pellets embedded in the pelvic area, which implied Rome had been wounded by the gunshot some years prior to going missing.
In December of 2020, former D.A. Investigator Ted Delacerda gave several news clippings and photographs about the case to the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In February 2021, with the current landowner’s permission, Sabine Parish Sheriff Detectives attempted to recover more skeletal remains from the well by mechanical means but were unsuccessful.
In April 2021, with help from Central Sabine Fire Department’s confined space entry team personnel, more skeletal remains and other items of evidence were recovered from inside the well.
On October 18, 2021, Sabine Parish Coroner Dr Mark Holder issued a Fact of Death Certificate stating the skeletal remains recovered from the well were those of Lester Rome.
Officials say Rome's next of kin has been notified.
Sabine Parish Sheriff Detectives are still investigating the case and searching for more information that may lead to the person(s) responsible for the death of Lester Rome.
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