A New Book On The ‘Real Life True Detective’ Case Links A Louisiana Congressman To Murdered Sex Workers

Back in January of 2014, Medium published a piece by investigative journalist Ethan Brown that shined a light on a string of unsolved murders in the Louisiana town of Jennings, which resides in Jeff Davis Parish in the southwestern part of the state. The victims were all sex workers who were involved in the same local prostitution ring, and they’d come to be known as the “Jeff Davis 8.”

Brown’s piece made some waves, not only because of its explosive nature (it suggested that corrupt local authorities were probably responsible for the murders, rather than a single serial killer, which was the theory police investigating the murders had been pushing), but also because of its similarities to the storyline in the first season of True Detective, which was airing at the time. A number of media outlets pointed out the connection and there was even a bit of tacit acknowledgment by True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto via Twitter that the case had helped inspire the show (Pizzolatto grew up near Jeff Davis parish). We here at Uproxx referred to it as the “real life True Detective case.”

Brown’s 2014 Medium piece got the attention of publishers and Scribner commissioned a book. That book — Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8 — will go on sale next week. (Tuesday, September 13, to be precise.) Uproxx obtained an advance copy of the book and… boy is it something.

First off, the depths of the corruption detailed in the book by Brown — a longtime former New York Magazine staff writer who’s also written for GQ, Rolling Stone, Wired and a host of other publications — will make your head spin for days after you finish reading it. The police incompetence and misconduct meticulously outlined by Brown — who spent five years investigating the murders — are downright staggering, even knowing what we know today about how pervasive police corruption is in some parts of the U.S., to the point where it feels as though Jennings, Louisiana isn’t a place that could possibly exist in the United States of America in 2016. It comes off as the type of depraved, sordid, unsettling place you’re more likely to find in a third-world country ruled by a dictator.

But perhaps most interesting of all is something that Brown details in the book’s 13th chapter: that Dr. Charles Boustany, a sitting U.S. congressman and current candidate for one of Louisiana’s two Senate seats, may have direct connections to some of the murdered sex workers. How? Well, first off, the Jeff Davis 8 all shared a few common links, one of them being that they all worked out of the same shady motel, the Boudreaux Inn, operated by a man known around town simply as “Big G.” After some digging around, Brown discovered that Big G is Martin Guillory, a member of Boustany’s congressional staff (his official role is that of “field representative”).

Additionally, and most notably, three different sources cited by Brown in the book allege that Boustany — a conservative Republican congressman who notably delivered the GOP response to an address to Congress by President Obama in 2009 — was a client of some of the murdered Jeff Davis 8 sex workers. One of Brown’s sources was a sex worker who worked alongside the Jeff Davis 8, another was a friend to many of the Jennings sex workers, while the third source claims to have spoken to the FBI about Boustany’s connection to Jeff Davis 8.

Writes Brown:

In an August 2015 meeting at the FBI’s Lake Charles office, I asked Agent Reed about his meeting with Boustany Witness A, and he refused to confirm or deny that such a meeting occurred. Agent Reed also refused to confirm or deny that the feds have received information that Boustany patronized any of the Jeff Davis 8.

In the book, Brown says that Boustany communications director Jack Pandol denied that the congressman ever visited the Boudreaux Inn or had any contact with any of the Jeff Davis 8, nor did the congressman know anything about his field representative running a motel that housed a prostitution ring.

“Dr. Boustany had no knowledge of Martin Guillory’s prior involvement at the [Boudreaux Inn],” Pandol told Brown. “After double checking our office’s records, Dr. Boustany has never had any contact with any of the eight victims you mentioned.” Additionally, Boustany’s office also gave the following statement to BuzzFeed: “We stand by the statement provided to Mr. Brown. These are outrageous lies and Dr. Boustany has no knowledge of this whatsoever.”

Interestingly, Guillory’s ties to the Boudreaux Inn have apparently not motivated Boustany to sever ties with him. As BuzzFeed points out, FEC documents show Guillory drawing a paycheck from Boustany’s current campaign for the Senate seat being vacated by David Vitter (who’s famously had prostitution scandals of his own).

It should be noted that Brown makes sure to point out in the book that he’s uncovered no evidence that Boustany or Guillory played a role in any of the murders.

To be clear, there is no evidence that either Congressman Boustany or Big G and his partners had any involvement with the murders of the Jeff Davis 8. And while a number of witnesses maintain that Boustany has enjoyed the services of at least two of the victims, he has denied, through his office, any involvement, and no doubt, while I have found the reports credible, his accusers can be challenged. Nevertheless, the clear evidence of Big G’s involvement with the Boudreaux Inn and the allegations concerning Congressman Boustany do provide yet another indication of how intertwined the powerless Jeff Davis 8 victims are, or were believed to be, with those who hold power in Louisiana.

Recent polling shows Boustany, whose congressional district was hit hard by the recent flooding in Louisiana, running in either 2nd or 3rd place in the race for Vitter’s Senate seat, though he has amassed a considerable campaign war chest as the candidate favored by many establishment Republicans. This week he began airing a barrage of TV spots across Louisiana.

Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8 goes on sale September 13.