Stephanie

Stephanie Hebert

The Unsolved Murder of 6yo Stephanie Lynn Hebert

32 years ago, a 6yo kindergarten graduate disappeared from her middle class suburban neighborhood along the Mississippi River in Waggaman, LA.  The date was June 13, 1978.

She had spent the night before at her friend Leesy’s house, is said to have checked in with her mother the following morning.  After grabbing a bite to eat she left her home again to go to another friend’s house Lorie’s who live a few doors away.   This was the last time her mother Joyce Hebert saw her daughter alive.  It was 2:30pm.

On this typical hot summer day, children were everywhere in this cozy community.  School had just dismissed for the summer and kids were riding bikes and tracking back and forth to the convenience stores buying treats. This was a time before Nintendo and the internet.  This was a time when children actually played outside and ducked in and out of their friend’s houses to just to cool off from the heat or grab a glass of water.  In this close knit neighborhood of the late 70′s, early 80′s, and a typical background of south Louisiana culture.

To enter Live Oak Floral Acres subdivision, you would travel south down River Road pass Avondale Shipyard along the winding Mississippi River. The entrance to Live Oak Floral Acres sat between two convenience stores on River Road.  All the streets were aptly named after flowers and are in alphabetical order.  Stephanie Lynn lived at 117 of Aster Lane, closest to the entrance.

Here’s one of the early headlines that I found at the library.

Thursday Morning, June 15, 1978 from Times Picayune-New Orleans

Headline: Middle-aged Woman Is Sought in Disappearance of Little Girl

      Deputies late Wednesday were looking for a middle-aged woman wearing heavy make-up and colored tennis shoes in the disappearance of a 5-year old child who has been the object of a fruitless two-day search in the Waggaman area.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Dept. Public Information Officer Lt. Harold Klibert said a woman selling ice cream and cotton candy from a truck positively identified 5-year old Stephanie Lynn Hebert as the child accompanying the wanted woman.

  The truck vendor told deputies she sold the woman and child two sticks of cotton candy between 4:30 & 5pm at the corner of Dandelion Street and Aster Lane.

  Klibert said investigators do not know if the auto and the suspect are connected. “This is just another lead we’re trying to check out,” he said, adding that the woman in the truck did not see the suspect and child get into the car.

            Stephanie, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Hebert of 117 Aster Lane was last seen by her mother about 2:30pm Tuesday when the child said she was going to a friend’s house three doors down the street from the Hebert’s residence, the girl’s father said.

  The search was called off shortly after dark Wednesday and was scheduled to resume at first light Thursday. Bulldozers were brought in late Wednesday to begin delving into the intense foliage of the area.

            About 100 deputies of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office and 35-50 volunteers

concentrated a large segment of their search Wednesday on a thickly wooded area covering many acres of the fringes of the small Mississippi River community, said Lt. Klibert.

Headquarters for coordinating Wednesday’s search effort was set up at the Live Oak Manor Volunteer Fire Department at Azalea Drive and Gardenia Lane near where one section of the wooded area begins. Sheriff Alwynn Cronvich was on hand there at least part of the day.

The search for the child being coordinated by the JPSO and involving a number of volunteer firemen began Tuesday night after the Hebert’s failed to locate their daughter. The neighborhood, Live Oak Floral Acres subdivision where the Heberts lived 7 years was scoured by searchers Tuesday night. JPSO search teams, some with police dogs also pushed into the thick woods at the time resuming the hunt Wednesday morning and covering some of the same ground to make sure no clues might have been missed in the darkness.

            The sheriff’s office also was conducting a search from the air with a helicopter that criss-crossed the Waggaman area just upriver from Avondale on the West Bank.

Although the sheriff’s office did not speculate on what might have happened to the child all concerned realize that kidnapping is a distinct possibility. The fear of this magnified by the recent kidnapping sex murder of two young girls in Morgan City.

Lt. Klibert said searchers were covering both sides of the levee and that a pair of cut-off blue jeans appeared to be stained with blood was found on the river batture Wednesday morning. However, he said investigators don’t believe the jeans are related to the girl’s disappearance but added “We are processing them accordingly.”

  Stephanie, whose 6th birthday is June 30th, was last seen wearing pink shorts and a pink checkered top, her father said. Also, she was barefooted and wearing blue framed glasses, he said adding that she had blond hair, is about four feet tall and weighs about 45 pounds. Last month she graduated from kindergarten at Live Oak Manor Elementary School near her home.

Lt. Klibert said the sheriff’s office has received a number of calls from people who thought they might have seen the child, but all so far have failed to shed any light on Stephanie’s disappearance.

However, he said the sheriff’s office nonetheless wants people to call if they have the slightest suspicion that they might have seen the girl or have a clue to her possible whereabouts. “We’re checking out all leads,” he said.

            Late Wednesday, searchers had been unable to come up with any “really solid leads,” he said. But Lt. Klibert said there were no plans yet tho relax the intensity of the search efforts to any significant degree.

The girl’s father, a 40-year old fitter with Avondale Shipyards, said detectives have searched through, “almost every house on this block since she was known to have been playing down the block as late as yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon. Investigators were so thorough he added, that they searched his single story brink home Tuesday night saying, “Lets be sure she’s not sleeping in a closet or under the bed.”

 My Quest For Answers

About 5 years ago, after watching a segment of AMW  America’s Most Wanted, I suddenly recalled the murder of a child named Stephanie Lynn Hebert.  I wondered what had become of this case.  Was it solved?  After 25 years, I hadn’t heard a word.  True, her story was front page news for months but I hadn’t heard her name in years.

Stephanie Hebert had a special place in my heart for a couple of reasons.  One, we lived in the same parish, two, her father and my first husband both worked at Avondale Shipyard and her murder was the reason why I held all of my children so tightly.

One month before Stephanie’s disappearance, I’d just had my first child, a daughter.  As a new mother, I panicked at the thought of this happening to my child.  Instantly, my heart broke for Stephanie’s parents as I watched their despair on the news.  Everyone in south Louisiana was glued to their TV sets awaiting updates.  For the poor children of Live Oak Floral Acres, they were sentenced to Alcatraz.  Bike riding, playing ball in the street was put on indefinite hold was one of the comments sent to me on yuko.com.  The streets were desolate for the remainder of the summer of 1978.

 My Search

Sometime in 2006, I really didn’t know where to start.  Thinking back, I remembered my daughter’s birth, so I had a year, 1978.  I first searched the internet for her name, Stephanie Lynn Hebert and couldn’t’ find her.  I went to JPSO Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office cold case site, again no Stephanie.  I went back to the internet and I finally found her name was on page 7, Google.com.

I found her obituary dated December 10, 1978.  It was sad to think this child was buried and now I find her buried in the World Wide Web.  It just didn’t seem right to me.  I wondered if I was the only person still thinking about this murdered little girl.  I contacted AMW.  I thought they would have more resources to find out about her and I hoped they would possibly showcase her story too.  Shockingly I received an email from them.  They couldn’t find anything either.

Now what?

Although at this time I had never posted on a blog, I decided I would get her name out there again.  Surely, there had to be more people like me.  Somebody remembers Stephanie Lynn Hebert. I posted on a few sites and received a few comments.  Most were thankful that I came forward to put Stephanie back in focus.  In response, I received comments from her childhood friends telling how Stephanie’s murder impacted their lives. Even her first boyfriend, known to me as Saint Death, commented how confused and sad he was as a child and till this day he’s haunted by her death. Some of the neighborhood parents told stories of their homes being searched and one whose home was a command center for searchers.  One angry parent told me two cops parked at one of the convenience stores ignored their plea for help when Stephanie had first gone missing.  She told me how the neighborhood rallied to find the little girl when Joyce Hebert was hysterically searching for Stephanie.

After much thought, because I’m not one to insert myself into murder cases, I finally called JPSO cold case division.  I told them my name and politely asked them about Stephanie Hebert.  After a long wait on hold, a clueless receptionist didn’t know who was handling the case.  She said someone would call me back.  A few hours later, I did get a call from a detective.  I asked him if the case was still open, he said yes.  I asked were there any new leads. He said no but they were expecting to make an arrest very soon.  Then without warning he asked me WHY I called after so many years.  I told him I’m interested because it was such a brutal crime against a child, I’m a true crime buff and I hadn’t heard about her case in years.  He seemed to understand, sort of laughed and that was the end of the phone call.  I took the call as a warning. Maybe I’m opening a can of worms?  Am I hurting the chance for justice for a murdered child?  This surely was not my objective.  Or am I now a suspect?  I hung up with an eerie feeling.

As I researched further at the local library, I found an article dated Nov. 29, 1978. Stephanie Hebert’s skeletal remains were found tied to a tree 21 miles from her home. Her clothing, little blue glasses and shoes laid nearby. It’s heartbreaking to think that this child was possibly tortured while tied to a tree. What type of animal could do this to a precious little girl?  I silently cried at the library while reading the photocopied article.

http://missing87975.yuku.com/forums/32.

I needed to do more.  With much more information than I had for the other blogsite, I decided on yuko.com.  My name there is KidJustice.  There I was able to post her story with more facts. In the meantime, I was getting feed back on the original site.  I had drawn a few very curious comments there.  One was the mother of JPSO’s prime suspect, Beverly Seisman. Strangely, I had another personal connection to Stephanie Hebert.  Beverly Seisman’s daughter was a friend of my second husband.  They both worked at Avondale Shipyard when I met him.  He introduced me to her on one occasion. She was an attractive girl who unfortunately sometimes ran with the wrong crowd he later told me.  Within the next few months, Beverly Alexander (same first name as her mother) was found dead in the trunk of her car.  The investigation was short and within a year or two Beverly’s case was closed by JPSO.  Her case remains unsolved.  Her mother, Beverly Seisman told me, she was outraged and had always felt that this was in retaliation to Stephanie’s murder. She said JPSO early on had her son Roger Alexander in their scope.  Roger, then 16 years old was Leesy’s and Beverly’s older brother. He was new to Waggaman, LA.  He was Beverly Seisman’s first born son who lived with his father in Maine but because he had problems living with his father, Beverly Seisman wanted him to live with her.  Stephanie spent the night at the Seisman’s before she disappeared. Coincidentally, Roger had a fight with his step father 2 days after Stephanie disappeared. Beverly said this is why she promptly sent him back to Maine to live with his father.

After joining CSO, Crimesearchersonline.com which was dedicated to Caylee Anthony and other missing and murdered children, I thought this might be a good venue to post her story. I was getting impatient with this news of an upcoming arrest. I was still corresponding with Beverly who told me Roger was anxiously waiting on the results of the DNA test.  She was hopeful that this would finally exonerate her son.  In my research I did stumble across an article in the Times Picayune, Roger Alexander, POI, was brought to a Grand jury in St. Charles parish in 1981 for the kidnapping and murder of Stephanie Hebert. The jury came back “no true bill”.  Roger was set free and quickly returned to the safe confines of Maine.

Stephanie Suspect 1UPDATE!!!

The Picture on the left is the composite drawing of the person allegedly holding Stephanie’s hand. 

As for the report of the woman allegedly seen holding Stephanie’s hand buying cotton candy from a vendor, this story never really panned out. Some say the composite drawing  looked like Roger in drag. Regretfully, I misplaced the newspaper copy of the drawing.  I didn’t see the resemblance.  What’s most prominent in the drawing, although it’s a very generic copy, is a V-shaped hairline sometimes referred to as a widow’s peak.  Also Roger has a prominent Adam’s apple which I find unlikely to have gone unnoticed.

In emails and blog comments, Roger said he and his cousin both passed polygraphs in 1978.  He can account for everything he did on June 13, 1978 except for 20 minutes.  In early July 2009, came bombshell news.  Val Bracey of Fox8Live, put together in a televised news special on July 29th, called “Lost Daughters.”  I first heard this news from a very excited Beverly Seisman via phone. It was official, the DNA does NOT belong to Roger Alexander.

Val Bracey is my hero.  Stephanie Lynn Hebert is back in the news reminding us all she is still awaiting justice.  I pray that I’ll live long enough to see it but I know the odds are against me.

http://www.fox8live.com/mostpopular/story/FOX-8-Investigates-Lost-Daughters/h4XJoWWE7kKrvLRg2LE7Iw.cspx

I am totally dedicated to her case. I’m not a detective or a family member, just a concerned citizen that hopes to bring awareness to the child. Hopefully, now that we’re in 2010, with new technology and forensic science, LE can somehow solve this crime or maybe someone will come forward with new information. If you are reading this, I thank you. If you can think of a way to bring the child into the spotlight again, please do and if I can help in anyway, please let me know. God bless you all. Justice for Stephanie Hebert!
Below is part of the article:
For almost 6 months, the FBI, JPSO, psychics and volunteers searched daily for little Stephanie. Finally on Nov.29,1978, by chance a hunter found her scattered remains 21 miles from the Hebert home. A rope was wrapped around her skeleton and her glasses, shoes and clothing were nearby…it’s a horrific crime and Stephanie needs justice.

As to the exerpt below,

 Although the sheriff’s office did not speculate on what might have happened to the child all concerned realize that kidnapping is a distinct possibility. The fear of this magnified by the recent kidnapping sex murder of two young girls in Morgan City.

This is what I found on Robert Carl Hohenberger.

An ex-convict and one-time California sheriffs deputy, Hohenberger was linked with the abduction, rape and murder of five Morgan City, Louisiana teenagers over a three-month period of 1978. Two of the victims were discovered on May 25, their bodies secured to weights and dumped in a septic tank; a third was found two days later, with all three reportedly strangled after sex. Still missing at the time of Hohenberger’s identification were 14-year-old Bertha Gould, vanished from a high school fair on May 11, and 16-year-old Leah Rodermund, lost on a trip to the neighborhood drugstore. FBI agents described sex as the motive for slayings committed by Hohenberger, a drifter since his release from prison who found temporary employment around Morgan City. As an afterthought to the case, city councilmen passed an ordinance requiring all transients to register and have their fingerprints taken by police, in an effort to “discourage the criminal element from coming down here and looking for a job.

http://www.francesfarmersrevenge.com/stuff/serialkillers/hohenberger.htm

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