LAFAYETTE, La. — A Wisconsin woman is making a big impact in an investigation here in Acadiana.
Jenny Lecus is a forensic genealogist working for the non-profit DNA Doe Project. She says the organization has helped solve more than 40 criminal cases like Erica Hunt's.
Erica Hunt disappeared from Opelousas in the summer of 2016. More than two years later, remains were discovered in Evangeline Parish during the search for a missing boy. You can see that story here.
Hunt was last seen outside of Ray's Boudin in Opelousas nearly five years ago.
Lecus tells KATC that finding a match to the searches is a bittersweet feeling because they don't always mean closure for the victim's family.
"[The] family is going to have answers. But those answers aren't happy ones," said Lecus. "And there's always that, at least they know. But you, you know, your heart always goes out to them, you never stop thinking about them."
However, she says the services the non-profit provides are exceptionally helpful when other means to solve a crime are non-conclusive.
"When tips have dried up, leads haven't gone anywhere. People aren't talking, you really have no idea who your John or Jane Doe could be. That's when they turn to us and to other people who do this kind of work," she said. "And it truly is the best way to get these names back to these individuals."
To read our story about how the process works, click here.
State Police say this case is being investigated as a homicide.
If you have any information about the disappearance and death of Erica Hunt, call Crime Stoppers at 948-TIPS. You can also text "TIPS 6-2-5" and the tip to CRIMES.
Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.
To reach the newsroom or report a typo/correction, click HERE.
Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Evening News Headlines, Latest COVID-19 Headlines, Morning News Headlines, Special Offers