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Woman still searching for answers in mother's mysterious 2008 death
JARREAU - It's Aug. 1, 2008. Forty-eight-year-old Jarreau resident Kim Womack hasn't been heard from in three days.
"[The landlords] went to check on her. The front door was locked, so they used their key to get into the back door, and they found her body in a back bedroom," explains Womack's daughter Kathryn Simpson.
Bloody, bruised and naked, investigators converged on her home. Simpson and the rest of the family waited to know what happened.
"Monday after the autopsy was done, Point Coupee Sheriff's department called my family and I to give us answers. And they told us the autopsy the previous day showed conclusively that my mom died in an accident when she slipped and fell and hit her head."
According to Simpson, their theory was that Womack had dropped some chocolate syrup, slipped in it, and fatally injured herself. Simpson had no reason to doubt them until she got a call from the coroner himself.
"He was very honest with me. He said this: 'I declared this a homicide when I got to the scene, and I declared this a homicide again at autopsy,' and he did tell me that. He did not specify who, but he did tell me that someone, some official, perhaps from the police department, had come to visit him and tried to strong-arm him into changing his findings from homicide to accident. But he refused."
Since then, Simpson has been fighting tooth and nail to find out what really happened to her mother, but since she was cremated and no evidence was collected at the scene, it's been impossible.
She says Pointe Coupee officials fought her at every opportunity, and even she began to doubt herself until she saw the photos of her mother's body.
"I was shocked to see how her eyes looked like softballs, and I knew that wasn't lividity because she was on her back. I was shocked to see the number of bruises all over her body and all the cuts; and in particular the wound on her forehead was so significant to me."
Additional photos of her home show lots of it in disarray, possibly indicating a struggle.
Simpson has a few theories of what happened and what may have caused what she calls a cover-up. She says before she died, her mother told people she was dating a sheriff's deputy. It wasn't until after her funeral they found out he was married.
In 2020, when Renee Thibodeaux became sheriff, he told Simpson they would look into the case again. So far, there have been no updates.
"First and foremost, I very much want to know who killed my mother. My peace depends on knowing what my mom went through. After that, I would like to continue to advocate for the other victims who have gone through the same situation I have gone through. Helping other people and finding out who killed my mom."
Simpson says the national organization, The Cold Case Foundation, has been looking into her mother's case and they plan to meet tomorrow to give her an update.
Pointe Coupee Parish District Attorney Tony Clayton released a statement saying in part, “Please follow the facts when reporting on matters like this. Sensationalizing a news story based on hearsay does a grave injustice to everyone involve. Especially the victim’s family and the public’s trust in our judicial system.”
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