“If they let him out again, something is wrong with the system.” Family of kidnapped Ville Platte woman reacts to her death


VILLE PLATTE, LA — The family of a missing deaf and mute Ville Platte woman realized their prayers for her to come home were not answered the way they wished Monday.

Joyce Thomas was found dead in the woods outside Sunset off Interstate 49 between Sunset and Opelousas.

Night after night Joyce’s family has been meeting where she lived ever since she went missing to encourage one another and pray for her safe return.

“We out here kinda hurt in the inside that she not around with us, with the family,” Larry Thomas, Joyce’s younger brother said about his sister.

Her niece, Sherry Freeman, niece told News 10, “What happened to her, it was just unreal, so we’re asking for prayers to strengthen the family.”

Along with prayers, the family is asking for justice. Joyce Thomas was missing since Wednesday, Feb. 26.

Police searched where she was found since Friday afternoon, shortly after the arrest of Philip Dewoody, 53, who has a long list of violent crimes, going in and out of jail.

“This is not the first elderly woman he’s done that to, and that’s not right,” expressed Joyce Thomas’ great-nephew, Jermaine Gallow. “He deserved to be in there. He don’t deserve to come out no more. If they let him out again, something is wrong with the system.”

Dewoody is already in jail on aggravated kidnapping charges. No word yet on any murder charges being filed.

Many of her family is constantly reminded of Joyce Thomas’ missing presence. She was dearly loved and visited nearly every day.

“That’s my auntie”, John Robert said as he showed the sign language Joyce used when asking for a drink or a bag of chips.

Larry and other members of the family hope to fill the missing presence by using the tragedy to unite themselves, “It’s time for us to join hands and hold our heads up high, and God will do the rest.”

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