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Calcasieu officials vow to find, prosecute accused murderer

Posted at 11:07 AM, Jul 07, 2021

Ten years after he allegedly walked into the home of his estranged wife and shot her, Calcasieu officials want Joe Constance to know they haven't forgotten him and they're still looking for him.

There are warrants for Constance, both Calcasieu Parish warrants accusing him of murdering her and violating a restraining order she had against him to do it, as well as federal warrants accusing him of being a fugitive. But in the decade after Duhon's June 2011 slaying he hasn't been seen.

"He vanished," said Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso during a Wednesday morning press conference.

Back in January, Mancuso hired former Lake Charles Police Chief Don Dixon to take over the case. Since then Dixon - who retired as LCPD Chief in 2019 after 17 years, preceeded by 30 years with the FBI - has been combing through the case file, "ruffling feathers" and "stirring up a hornet's nest," Mancuso said.

"We've gotten some information and I think we've been lied to," Mancuso said. "We have not given up and we will never give up."

The first assistant District Attorney, as well as the FBI and the U.S. Marshal Service also are part of the team looking for Constance.

Mancuso said he wanted to be clear to the friends and family of Constance, who he alleges had ties to drug gangs and prison gangs, and is a white supremacist, that this is not going away.

"I know this family is tried of us knocking on their doors, but we're not going to stop," Mancuso said.

Mancuso said Constance disappeared, leaving his dog, wallet and cell phone behind.

"We've heard lots of rumors, some of it we feel is credible. You don't just vanish without help. There are things that don't add up. We feel somebody helped him. Sources have told us that, and it makes sense," the sheriff said. "That's why we met with DA about an amnesty deal here. We're OK with that, we can live with that, because the end goal is we have a murderer on the loose. If somebody helped him, whether it's a family member or friend, if they felt like they had to do it out of loyalty, we're giving them an opportunity right now. This is their chance, right now."

District Attorney Stephen Dwight was there to make it official.

"If anyone assisted Joe Constance in leaving the area or hiding him; if they have information, we're willing to offer immunity to them for testimony in bringing this fugitive to justice," Dwight said. "We're going to use every tool in our arsenal to bring closure to (the Duhon) family."

That offer only lasts until he's caught, though; Mancuso promised that anyone found to have helped him will be prosecuted if they don't come forward.

"We know somebody knows something. We know because the information we've gotten puts some of the pieces together, and some are missing," Mancuso says.

Dixon said he enjoys a challenge, and after two years of retirement and a lot of golf, he felt he was ready for one last one. The Constance case did it for him. He said Constance broke into a home and "murdered a defenseless woman." He said four other people were there at the time, including her daughter. Three of them are witnesses, the sheriff added.

Dixon said he continues to push for remembering Duhon.

"One of the greatest joys of my life is being a grandfather. If Mary was alive today, she would be a grandmother. Joe Constance took that away from her. This family needs closure; he needs to be brought to justice," Dixon says.

Constance is accused in warrants of first degree murder, 2 counts aggravated assault and aggravated burglary. A federal arrest warrant was issued by the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in 2014, after Constance was charged federally with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

CPSO is asking anyone with information on Constance to come forward by calling the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI, or calling directly to the CPSO Detective at (337) 707-TIPS (8477).

Constance is 6’2, white male with brown/gray hair and brown eyes. He has a tattoo on his left arm, along with numerous tattoos on his back, he also has a mole on his neck. He has been known to use the following names: Joe Constance, Joe M. Constance, Joe Matthew Constance, and Joseph Constance, along with the following dates of birth: February 27, 1967 and July 27, 1967.

Here are age-progressed images of what he may look like today:

Here's the full press conference, courtesy of KPLC in Lake Charles: