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Wanted: The search for murder suspect Joe Constance

In April, the FBI increased its reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Joe Constance to $30,000.
Joe Constance-Wanted
Posted at 5:48 PM, Jun 27, 2024

CALCASIEU PARISH — When Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso retires from office this month, his law enforcement career will come to a close. But there are some cases Mancuso worked during his tenure as sheriff that he was unable to close the books on— including the 2011 murder of Mary Jeanette Duhon.

“It’s not an unsolved murder. It’s a fugitive on the loose that we can’t find," Mancuso told KATC during one of his last interviews as sheriff.

The morning of June 5, 2011, Duhon was inside a trailer home with several others when she was fatally shot. Her suspected killer is her estranged husband, Joe Constance.

“He basically forced his way in and shot her with a shotgun," said Mancuso.

Records show that Duhon was granted a temporary restraining order against Constance in Cameron Parish on May 18, 2011. She was a mother of three, and her children say life has been difficult without their mom.

"She could just make anybody instantly feel at home. She was just a good person," said Melonie Brister, Duhon's daughter. "We lost my dad four years before her," said Brister. "And then four years later, we lost her. At the time, I had two little kids. Having to raise my kids without her was hard. Watching my sister grow up without her was hard. Watching my sister get married without her was hard. It was very, very difficult," she said.

"I know she’d want to be here for those things," said Victoria Shumaker, Duhon's daughter.

Duhon's son, Russell Nunez, describes his mom as his best friend. "She was the person I could talk to about anything. She was the person that knew me most in the world," said Nunez.

Billy Johnston, who lives in the area, says his son was one of the people inside the home when Duhon was killed.

"I don't ever forget about it. You can't forget about it," said Johnston. "Would anybody want to go through something like that?"

Johnston remembers law enforcement officers arriving on scene that day and combing the area. But their search came up empty. About a half hour after Duhon was murdered, investigators located Constance's truck abandoned on a nearby road. According to Mancuso, several of Constance's items were located inside the truck, including his keys, wallet, and ID.

“Literally, we have his truck there with everything in it. And nothing else. Just gone," said Mancuso.

Brister said it makes her angry that Constance has been able to evade capture. "It’s not fair," said Brister. "I have to let it go at some point. He doesn’t get to take any more from us than he has," she said.

Constance appears on the FBI's Most Wanted List. In April of this year, the FBI increased the reward for information leading to Constance's arrest and conviction from $20,000 to $30,000.

“I just want some sort of closure," said Nunez. "Just to know if he’s still alive or he’s dead. What the hell happened to him."

Mancuso assures that the investigation will continue after he leaves office.

"What does it mean to me? There's a part of me that feels like we failed," said Mancuso. "But the other side of it is, I'm confident that we'll keep trying. And the ones that come after me will continue to try. I just hope I'm around to see the day that he does get picked up," said Mancuso.

If you have any information regarding the case or Constance's whereabouts, you can contact the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office or the FBI New Orleans Field Office.

"It would take something pretty big to happen— someone to come forward or for him to slip up," said Shumaker. "But I hope," she said. "I think she deserves that.”