Body found may be that of missing man

A body found submerged in a car near Lafayette Monday could possibly be linked to a 24-year-old missing persons case. The car, a Cadillac, was found in the Vermilion River Monday afternoon.

While officials with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s department and forensic scientists continued their work Tuesday to identify the remains, clues began to emerge about a link to the case of Louis Emery Roger, who disappeared in 1984 - which was the same year as the registration tags on the early model Cadillac which was found.

Authorities, however, are quick to point out that it is much to early in the investigation to comment on such a link and that it may be early next week before they can positively identify the body. They did say that they were able to find out who the car belonged to but didn’t want to release that information as the remains may not belong to the person who owned the car.

However, District Attorney Mike Harson and his office administrator Barna Haynes believe Roger’s disappearance 24 years ago is a match to the information provided so far.

Roger’s wife, Dorothy Soileau Roger came to Harson’s private law practice office, before he was affiliated with the district attorney’s office, to handle a life insurance policy in 1984. Mrs. Roger has since died.

Haynes was his secretary in his office during the time.

Dorothy Roger, a beneficiary on her husband’s policy, needed help settling the policy with the insurance company because Roger had come up missing months before.

The insurance company would not release the funds to her because his body could not be produced.

Haynes said the woman, who lived on Gloria Switch Road and owned more property in the area, had not heard from her husband since the night he disappeared.

She had two sons, Earl and Troy Shay, from a previous marriage and Roger’s son, Louis Emery Roger Jr., who was very close to his father, Haynes said.

“It was rough on her not knowing where her husband was,” she said. “Several people thought he had just left, but she knew something had happened to Louis because he was so devoted to his son.”

Around 1986, Harson finally filed a petition to declare the missing man legally deceased to settle the insurance claim.

But Haynes said the woman did not want to give up looking for her husband. “Even after he was declared legally dead she thought he would walk back in the door one day,” Haynes said.

Both Haynes and Harson said they spent several years after the disappearance trying to help locate her husband as the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department continued to investigate the case to no avail.

A few months after Roger disappeared, Harson and a friend even went to the Vermilion River with sonar equipment very close to where the car was located because sources said they had seen Roger driving down that road in the morning hours the date he disappeared.

“We may have been about 100 yards from where the car was found,” Harson said.

Harson and Haynes said that a psychic had been used during the investigation and told investigators that Roger was in the Vermilion River.

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The Vermilion Today

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Abbeville, LA 70511
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