Louisiana Unsolved Murder
Murdered Person: Kayla Mayberry
On Saturday, October 22, 1994, some time after 10 PM, 19-year-old Kayla Mayberry disappeared from a nightclub in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.A. (The Wet Bar, on Spring Street). She had been there with her sister, but she wanted to go to the dance floor while her sister didn't, so they separated for what was intended to be only a few minutes. Kayla was never seen again.
Over the days and weeks that followed, her family conducted a massive search for Kayla, including posting "Missing Person" flyers all over town and elsewhere. But nothing turned up.
Finally, over two weeks later, a body was found in an abandoned farmhouse in east Texas (near Elysian Fields, close to the Louisiana state line), and was identified as Kayla. Few details about the body were revealed at the time, but findings made public much later reveal that Kayla was probably choked to death; no sign of knife or bullet wounds or broken bones was found. Harrison County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Palmer has been accused of botching the investigation by contaminating the body with formaldehyde and bug spray, charges which he denies.
At any rate, nothing conclusive was found at the time, and authorities were baffled about who committed the killing, and why. Her family and friends desperately sought any clues that might help solve the case.
In February, 1996, it was revealed that Christopher Timon, the "I-49 murderer" of last year, had allegedly admitted to also killing Kayla, according to Tammy Williams, who testified in Timon's successful prosecution. Williams told this to DeSoto Parish authorities six months earlier, who in turn tipped off Shreveport detectives, but somehow this information never got to the people who were investigating this case. Timon, however, has since denied any involvement in the Mayberry killing, and is also appealing the I-49 murder conviction.
The police then said that they had another suspect who failed a lie-detector test, but they didn't have sufficient evidence against him to obtain a warrant for his arrest. It has never been revealed who this suspect is.
Anyone with any information that could help solve this case can contact Crime Stoppers at (318) 673-7000, or Shreveport Police at (318) 673-6985.
Kayla was 5'6", 115 lbs, age 19, medium blonde hair, brown eyes, and was last seen wearing light blue Guess jeans and a sleeveless blue and white striped V-neck tank top.
Oct. 22, 1994, when Kayla vanished, was the night of a massive street festival in downtown Shreveport, a few blocks away from The Wet Bar. It was part of the monthly "Downtown Neon Saturday Night" series of arts festivals, and was also a celebration of the completion of Texas Street Streetscape construction work. There was a large crowd downtown to see the art, hear bands perform, and see a laser show put on by Rockne Krebs, who also created the neon lighting display of the Texas Street Bridge.
The farmhouse where her body was found is reportedly not visible from the road (Waskom-Elysian Fields Road, north of F-M 451 in Harrison County, Texas, about 22 miles SW of Shreveport). This implies that the killer may be familiar with the abandoned houses in that region.
Suspect Christopher Timon, inmate #360424 at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, is serving a life sentence for the murder of a man that he followed out of a riverboat casino in Bossier City in order to rob him of his winnings and kill him. Timon was beleived to have been hanging out in the parking lot of Northwood High School, where Kayla graduated in 1992, and also frequently went to the Wet Bar, where Kayla vanished. A friend of Timon's, and an accomplice in the I-49 murder, was Gary Lynn Shaw, who knew Kayla and her sister Tonya (but they weren't friends, according to Tonya). Timon denies knowing Kayla or hanging out at Northwood.
Investigators have looked at whether there may be connections between this case and that of the disappearance of Kristi Gwen O'Pry, last seen July 19, 1996.
Anther case which has been investigated for possible connections include a homicide committed by Shreveport doctor Reuben Ross, who shot his girlfriend Penny Williams in rural East Texas after leaving a Shreveport bar. Ross killed himself when approached by a deputy.
Yet another investigation: whether accused serial killer Glen Rogers was in the area at the time. He's now in Florida on a murder charge, and is suspected in the Bossier City slaying of Andy Jiles Sutton.
Chronology & Updates
Oct. 22, 1994: Kayla disappears from The Wet Bar.
Nov. 7, 1994: Body found in East Texas.
Nov. 12, 1994: Kayla's funeral.
Dec. 3, 1994: Kayla's birthday; she would have been 20.
Aug. 1995: The case was mentioned on a local newscast, basically saying that there are still no definite leads; there are a few possible suspects, but no real evidence. The autopsy was inconclusive.
26 Aug 1995: The Times (Shreveport) had a letter from Laura J. Brennan, a friend of the Mayberrys, mentioning a decline of public interest and support for the case.
29 Aug 1995: Randy and Debbie Mayberry had a letter in the Times thanking the community for their support, which they say is continuing, and that if the police seem to give no response to people asking about it, it is to avoid compromising the case.
28 Sep 1995: Shreveport homicide detectives turned the case over to the juvenile bureau, in an attempt to get fresh insights into the case.
11 Oct 1995: A letter from Tonya Mayberry, Kayla's sister, appears in The Times, seeking the killer to come forward and answer for his actions. This is the subject of a front-page Times article.
10 Dec 1995: The Times prints another article about Kayla's mother and sister seeking answers, including a new letter from Tonya Mayberry.
9 Feb 1996: It is reported in The Times that "I-49" killer Christopher Timon also admitted to killing Kayla, according to Tammy Williams (who testified in Timon's trial last year). This was apparently revealed to authorities six months ago but never followed up on.
10 Feb 1996: Shreveport Police Chief Steve Prator says that his department has spent thousands of hours checking leads in this case, and it's "unthinkable" that the new tip about Timon "slipped through the cracks" as was reported yesterday. Instead, the department says they were contacted and told "an unidentified person may have information about the case," but were given no more details and were unable to arrange a meeting with DeSoto authorities for various reasons. At any rate, they are pursuing this lead vigorously now that they have details.
13 Feb 1996: As investigators continue pursuing the latest lead in the case, they say that the killer may have kept Kayla for several days before killing her, and the crime may have taken place in Texas or in Shreveport; this will need to be determined in order to decide where the trial will take place. It is hypothesized that she left the nightclub either alone or with somebody she knew, so there might not have been a kidnapping in Shreveport.
20 Feb 1996: Christopher Timon denies being involved in the murder, despite the earlier statements of Tammy Williams to the effect that Timon had admitted doing it. Local police have yet to interview Timon.
8 Mar 1996: Harrison County Medical Examiner Dr. Robert Palmer was accused of contaminating Kayla's remains during the investigation of the murder. Palmer denies this. Shreveport investigators say the body had formaldehyde and bug spray on it when they received it after Harrison County completed its testing, which could wash away pertinent evidence. Palmer says that no such substances were placed on the body by his department, and also expressed an opinion that this case was not likely ever to be solved.
9 Mar 1996: Police say they have a second suspect in addition to Christopher Timon, but they won't reveal who it is. This suspect failed a lie detector test, but insufficent evidence has been found against him to allow for his arrest.
16 Mar 1996: Michael Ellis, M.D., of Marshall, Texas, has a letter in the Times giving his opinion that the autopsy of Kayla Mayberry was performed well within the bounds of quality forensic pathology. This is in response to the allegations last week that the autopsy was "botched."
21 Mar 1996: Shreveport detectives interviewed suspect Christopher Timon, at which time he once again denied any involvement in the Kayla murder. Police haven't eliminated him as a suspect, however.
7 Nov 1996: A Times article says that the case is "still a mystery."
24 Oct 1998: I haven't heard anything new about this case in the last couple of years, but it was mentioned briefly on a local newscast a couple of days ago as a still-unsolved case that the police might be able to reopen using new technologies. I don't know any more details of just what leads they're pursuing.
26 Oct 1998: The case was mentioned in The Times as a "What ever happened to..." piece, noting that detectives Randy Benton and Van Wray are reviewing the case and submitting fingerprint and DNA evidence to the FBI Crime Lab, where new technologies might be able to yield new leads in the case.
18 Nov 1998: Shreveport police homicide detectives have obtained hair and saliva samples from suspect Christopher Timon in an attempt to reopen the case. Timon denies any involvement in the murder. He is presently serving a life sentence at Angola for a different murder.
You must give some time to your fellow men. Even if it's a little thing, do something for others - something for which you get no pay but the privilege of doing it.
-Albert Schweitzer (1875 - 1965)
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