Discovery Channel's true crime series, Killing Fields recently premiered its second season and armchair sleuths will love the gritty series. While the series is mostly focused on the cold case murder of Louisiana State University student Eugenie Boisfontaine in 1997, the show's investigators have actually re-opened a second cold case along the way. The murder case of Curtis "Cochise" Smith featured in Killing Fields' Season 2 premiere, and it's a pretty complex case.
Curtis "Cochise" Smith disappeared way back in 1991 when, according to Major Ronald Hebert, he left his home to buy diapers for his 5-month-old child. For 25 years, the investigators of this departments have been haunted by this particular case because it seemed to be unsolvable without a body. While the department has been hard at work trying to solve the Boisfonatine case, with Detective Rhodes Sanchez even coming out of retirement to work on it, someone stumbled upon the body of an African-American male who had been brutally stuffed into an oil drum and tossed into the water of Bayou Pigeon. As the show pointed out, rumor had been circulating that Smith was shot and put into an oil drum. The description matched Smith and the department went full throttle into trying to prove that the body was indeed their missing man from 1991.
The body they found was extremely old and deteriorated, but the investigators used the bones to extract a biological profile that can tell age, race, gender, and even height of a deceased victim. With that they could create a reconstruction of what the person may have looked like. They also said that they could attempt to use DNA from inside the teeth to try and develop a profile to work with.
Additionally, it turned out that investigators already had a suspect for this case but could not make an arrest because they lacked a body. Detective Sanchez explained in the first episode of Season 2 of Killing Fields that Tommy Francise had allegedly confessed to having shot Smith, stuffed him into an oil drum, and thrown the drum into the water. Francise later retracted his comments. He was also suspected of killing another man in 2002. Investigators connected the cases with the fact that both men had worked for Francise at one point in time.
According to The Advocate, in October 2016, Francise was arrested and charged with the deaths of those two men. He denied having any involvement. He was denied bail and, according to WTOC, in December, a grand jury decided there was enough evidence to move forward with a trial. Whatever the outcome, let's just hope that the victims' families eventually get the closure that they deserve.