LSU FACES Laboratory helps solve “Man in the Well” cold case


Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office

SABINE PARISH, La. (BRPROUD) – Lester Rome was reported missing in 1984. 37 years later and the remains of the man from Grand Isle were positively identified by Sabine Parish Coroner Dr. Mark Holder.

The timeline of this investigation started in 1984 and ended in 2021.

The investigation included contributions from the Central Sabine Fire Department, Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office and LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services.

The Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office provided a rundown of the timeline below:

  • In 1984, Lester Rome (age 58 at the time) from Grand Isle, Louisiana was reported missing to Jefferson Parish authorities.
  • In April 1986, a Sabine Parish landowner discovered human skeletal remains in a water well on his property. Some of the skeletal remains were recovered at the time, but a positive identification was unable to be determined.
  • In October 2013, LSU Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (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. Rome had been shot in the abdomen area with a shotgun some years prior to when he went missing.
Image courtesy of Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • On December 10, 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.

The next of kin has been notified of these developments.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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