Parents Find New Clues Leading Them To Believe Daughter Was Murdered
A family's tireless pursuit for the truth reveals a haunting twist in what was initially deemed a suicide. In Cottonport, Louisiana, Megan Parra's tragic death turns into a relentless quest for justice by her parents, Steve and Missy Ducote.
In 2014, Megan Parra was found with a fatal gunshot wound, leading to an investigation that spanned nearly a decade and culminated in an unexpected confession.
The incident occurred on June 28, 2014, in Megan's home. Her parents, upon discovering her, desperately attempted life-saving measures. Megan, a devoted mother of two, was airlifted to a trauma center but succumbed to her injuries the following day. The initial ruling by police and autopsy reports suggested suicide, a conclusion that Megan's parents refused to accept.
Determined parents challenge the official narrative
Steve and Missy's doubts about their daughter's alleged suicide led them to demand a reopening of the case. Their persistence paid off in October 2021 when charges were finally brought about by Megan's death. Key to their doubts was a note supposedly left by Megan, which Steve suspected was not in her handwriting.
Dustin Parra, Megan's husband, claimed he was at Walmart during the incident. However, his account and presence at the scene raised questions. Steve Ducote, recalling Dustin's behavior on the day, noted it as distinctly unusual. "He comes running in… and he just catches the end of the blood," Steve described.
“To us, as a family, him admitting to that, that was huge,” said Steve Ducote.
A complex investigation unfolds
Officer David Blanchard's crime scene photographs, including one showing a gun near Megan belonging to Dustin, played a crucial role in the investigation. Steve and his eldest daughter, Betsy Jeansonne, meticulously studied these photos, noticing signs of a struggle that contradicted the initial suicide theory.
In April 2021, Steve hired independent crime scene analyst Eric Richardson. Richardson's analysis revealed high-velocity blood spatter on Dustin's shorts, further complicating Dustin's narrative. Retired FBI agents David Lemoine and Zack Shelton, later involved in the investigation, interviewed several key individuals, including Dustin and Detective Knight, who had initially worked on the case.
Avoyelles Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle, acknowledging the new evidence, sent the case to a grand jury. Dustin was charged with second-degree murder, to which he initially pleaded not guilty. However, he eventually pleaded no contest to negligent homicide, admitting to a struggle with the gun that was accidentally discharged. Dustin received a five-year prison sentence but is expected to serve only 18 months before being eligible for parole.
The aftermath: Justice and custody
Despite the heartache and years of fighting for the truth, there was a semblance of closure for Steve and Missy Ducote. In April 2024, they were granted full custody of Megan's sons, ensuring the boys remained within the family. Megan's memory continues to be honored by her parents and siblings, who remember her as a generous, loving mother and sister.
"She was always so giving of herself... She was the most amazing mother... She was my little sister … but I really looked up to her," Betsy Jeansonne fondly remembered her sister.
Steve Ducote's relentless pursuit not only brought a measure of justice for Megan but also highlighted the importance of perseverance and questioning in the face of uncertainty. "Take care of those boys, and probably say thanks for not giving up," Steve imagined Megan would say, reflecting on their long journey for truth and justice.
Lessons to learn from this tragedy
1. Trust your instincts: The Ducote family's refusal to accept the initial ruling played a crucial role in uncovering the truth.
2. Persistence pays off: Despite years of setbacks, the family's determination eventually led to a breakthrough in the case.
3. Seek professional help: Hiring an independent crime scene analyst provided critical evidence that contradicted the initial findings.
4. Community support: The involvement of retired FBI agents and the District Attorney's office was pivotal. However, it's crucial to remember that despite our best efforts, crime can still occur, and victims should never be blamed.
Why this story matters
This story serves as a poignant reminder of the enduring strength of familial love and the pursuit of justice. It underscores the importance of questioning and not
accepting things at face value, especially in matters as grave as life and death. For the community, it highlights the need for thorough investigations and the role of individuals in seeking truth. The story of Megan Parra and her family's quest for justice will resonate with anyone who believes in the power of perseverance and the pursuit of truth.
- In 2014, Megan Parra's death was initially ruled a suicide.
- Her parents' investigation led to her husband Dustin being charged with negligent homicide.
- The case highlights the importance of persistence and questioning in seeking justice.