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One year later: Family questioning why father's killing remains unsolved

Joseph Vallian Sr.
Posted at 6:23 AM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 07:23:21-04

On September 16th, 2020, Joseph Vallian Sr's body was found inside of his home in the St Landry Parish community of Lawtell.

His children are questioning why, one year later, there have been no answers and no arrests.

"I think about it every day," says Vallian's daughter Crystal Andrus. "What happened? Did he suffer? How long did he suffer?"

Andrus's brother, Joseph Vallian, Jr. says his father's death changed his life.

"My life hasn't been the same since. They took away my best friend. It's still hard to talk about."

Jospeh Vallian was beaten to death and his hands tied behind his back with a belt he owned. His children say not having their father is painful, but not knowing who killed him makes that pain more agonizing and unimaginable.

Vallian's daughter Leah explains, they have been left wondering for an entire year.

"We don't know anything. No answers. We were told the DNA evidence is not back."

St Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says a backlog at the crime lab is why the DNA evidence in the Vallian case has not been processed.

"I spoke to crime lab today on this case and was assured Monday when the lady handling it will be back. Again, we will request they review the evidence and give us something so we can put this behind us."

Guidroz says the case is still listed as "active" in his department. He also says this case is solvable.

"We do have a person of interest we are still watching. We have collected evidence at the scene that could change that status from person of interest to a suspect."

The family and sheriff agree, the person who killed the father of four is likely someone he knew. The family says things were moved around inside the home and then placed back in the general area of where their father kept them. They believe the person(s) involved spent hours inside their father's home.

The family and investigators says robbery could be a motive. There was a safe inside Vallian's home that went missing the night he died.

"It's never been recovered," Guidroz explains. "We put it on Crimestoppers and offered a reward for information on the homicide and the safe that was in the house. We got two tips and those didn't pan out."

The sheriff says other tips in this case have gone quiet.

The family says after the murder, there was a break in at shed on Vallian's property. One of the children says they found a cell phone that had been left behind and turned it over to deputies. We asked the sheriff about that phone and whether or not it was entered as evidence in connection to the death. Guidroz would only say lots of evidence has been collected and that every piece has been processed and examined.

"We're on top of it," the sheriff says. "We need two things (to solve this case), the crime lab to get our evidence and analyze it and people who know more than they are saying to come forward."

When the family was asked about whether or not they think a major factor in the case is people in the community not coming forward, they all agreed.

"If you know something come out and say it," encourages Vallian Jr. "If it was your family, I'd do the same for you."

His sister Crystal agrees.

"We want this resolved. We want answers. For this community and our family to be safe because these individuals are still living among us and they could do this again."

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