by Suzanne Titkemeyer
Last week we looked at the rules and reality of trouble teen home New Bethany Home for Girls in Arcadia, Louisiana. A place where Carol Ann might have been that possibly figures into her murder. Today I was going to talk about the cruelty and abuse handed down at New Bethany by IFB pastor Mack Ford. But several things have popped up on Facebook groups involving finding Carol Ann’s murderer that we must talk about.
Initially I was going to delay discussing the suspects until the very end, but I think in light of the Facebook postings we need to address the list of suspects now.
From Justice for Carol Ann Facebook group:
Those are all good questions, questions that someone out there might be able to answer. The truly heart breaking part of all of this is that this is her sister Jeanie Phelps asking the right questions. It is not law enforcement that is asking and seeking answers. They have been largely silent on the status of the case beyond naming John Chesson as a person of interest. Jeanie needs closure.
So who all is on the possible suspect list or have been investigated as a suspect?
- Henry Lee Lucas – We can completely rule him out after his false confession. Self-proclaimed serial killer gave detectives a confession of murder claiming that he killed Bossier Doe. A Grand Jury found that there was enough evidence to bind him over for trial. The trial never happened as it was proved that he was in the state of Florida at the time of Carol Ann’s murder.
- John Chesson – The man who reported finding the body of Carol Ann with his son during a trip through the woods either hunting or looking for aluminum cans to sell depending on who you believe. The only known real evidence of his being possibly the killer are the words of his daughter Frances Chesson Aucoin, based on her recollections as a small child, his discovery of the body and his murder conviction on a completely unrelated case. He slit the throat of an older woman, the mother of a former wife. Unlikely based on this small amount of evidence.
- Possible associate of John Chesson – Perhaps saw Carol Ann Cole if she was genuinely living at the Chesson family home and decided to take advantage of the situation. Long shot.
- Her Former Boyfriend – Her recitation in letters to family members indicate that the former boyfriend physically abused her, beating her until she suffered from a miscarriage. He also forced her to have sex with a number of his friends. But there’s no evidence she was in contact with any former boyfriend.
- Oil Worker/Logger – Since Carol Ann’s body was discovered on an old logging road near a oil pipeline you have to wonder if her murderer was someone that worked in either the oil or lumber industry. The site seems to indicate that the killer would have been familiar with the area. Someone who worked in the area would have known that this was an isolated spot to dump a body.
- Random Stranger – This might be a very long shot but there have been a number of murders through the years where the killer was someone that randomly happened by a person, realized that they were isolated and/or without family or a support system and decided this was the perfect opportunity to exercise some sort of perverted murder fantasy.
- Rodeo Worker – One of the possibilities discussed because of the large and unusual belt buckle found with Carol Ann’s body.
- Donald Jordan – His home was identified as the last place that Carol Ann Cole called her family from. He was a Shreveport, Louisiana resident known to take in runaways and he drove a logging truck. He might have been familiar with the logging road where her body was placed. Deceased now.
- Mack Ford – While there is no definitive link between a missing or murdered child and Mack Ford, there are many stories of severe abuse meted out by the pastor running New Bethany. She might have been killed for refusing to have sex with a paying associate of Ford’s if the former resident’s stories of the sex trafficking are anything to go by. Ford is deceased and it was only after his passing that Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Dept. investigators were allowed to a cursory search for evidence at New Bethany. None of the kitchen knifes or other possible implements of murder were tested.
- Mack Ford’s Associates – There are former residents from New Bethany that remember a church member who was later on staff at New Bethany that distinctly remember his wearing a distinctive belt buckle like the one found with Carol Ann. Is it really that far-fetched to think that a girl who might have run away from New Bethany or resisted in some way would not possibly been dealt a fatal punishment or taken out to be ‘taught at lesson’? Many IFB homes, ministries and churches seem to be filled with people who prey on helpless children since most IFB churches do not believe in screening their workers.
This is a long list of possibilities and the reality is that after 35 years, many dead or unknown possible killers and no concrete leads it’s unlikely to ever be solved unless someone who knows something comes forward now. I leave you with a plea from the Facebook page by Carol Ann’s sister Jeanie Phelps.
If anyone has any information on the murder of Carol Ann Cole or knows how Carol Ann got to Louisiana from Texas please contact the Bossier Parish Sheriffs Dept at 318.965.2203 Please give Carol Ann Cole’s family the peace that comes with closure. This is still an unsolved open case being investigated.
In the meantime if you wish to contact anyone at NLQ about what happened to Carol Ann Cole, or with your own story please drop me an email at SuzanneNLQ@.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape. She can be reached at SuzanneNLQ@
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