We start this week looking at some news.
First, we’re hearing from several different sources that the man Bossier Parish has identified as a person of interest, John Chesson, has died in prison. How this will affect the investigation is not known, but at best Chesson as the killer seems unlikely.
The second thing to come to light is a new television show on Investigation Discovery channel titled ‘Murder Chose Me’. It’s based around the career of former Shreveport, Louisiana homicide detective Rod Demery. This may or may not be important because sharp eyed viewers have said they saw Carol Ann Cole lead investigator Shannon Mack in one of the clips from the show. Looking through the Internet Movie Data Base site on the show does not list Mack as either an actor or character. Nothing listed on which cases will be featured.
I think it’s likely there’s no mention or connection to the Carol Ann Cole case and the show because Demery is famous for an insanely high clearance rate and the show will be showcasing many of his closed cases.
Now, back to the possible link between New Bethany and the murder of Carol Ann Cole. Last week we looked at some of the cruel behavior of Mack Ford and the things inflicted on the residents of New Bethany Home for Girls. This week we’re going to look at why law enforcement might not have wanted to take the possibility of New Bethany involvement seriously.
It boils down to one big reason – politics.
There’s an old saying in Louisiana – ‘Louisiana politics, the best money can buy’. Sadly this is rooted in truth. All you have to do it look at the history of Louisiana politics, going back further than Kingfish – Governor Huey P. Long and extending through the many terms of governor held by federal felon Edwin W. Edwards and his penchant for gambling in Las Vegas with money from the state of Louisiana coffers along with other assorted crimes.
Edwards was a friend of Mack Ford’s, and during many of his terms New Bethany Home for Girls was not prosecuted for many of the allegations of abuse and neglect. Once Edwards left office the state did go after Ford for allegations that he’d sold into illegal adoptions babies born to the girls housed at New Bethany.
Mack Ford also held oil and gas leases in the surrounding parishes and it is alleged that his status was protected from investigation and prosecution because of his involvement with the oil industry. Big oil does control much of Louisiana.
Add in how staunchly conservative and Baptist the northern half of Louisiana is culturally. No one wanted to think that a local beloved pastor might possibly be involved in anything criminal or abusive, no matter what evidence emerged that his motives were less about serving God.
Another thing about Ford and his part of Louisiana is that it is rural small Southern town culture, where everyone knows everyone else, and, more importantly are interrelated by marriage or familial blood. A multitude of sins are looked away from in small Southern towns when committed by the powerful, raising them above suspicion.
In the archives of the state of Louisiana there are literally thousands of legal documents involving Mack Ford, his family and New Bethany Home for Girls. Everything from his refusal to allow an agent of the State Fire Marshall’s office to inspect the facility for a state-mandated fire safety inspection through his law suits against the state of Louisiana. It’s a mind boggling mess to sort through and read. Some of the testimony confirmed the very allegations of abuse by the former residents.
Ford was adamant in his refusal to allow inspections of any sort by any social work agency in the state or oversight by a regulatory body. Eventually he closed New Bethany instead of allowing state inspectors access.
He had a lot to hide. Some of his land transactions and how the oil and gas leases were handled are suspect at best. The mountain of allegations of pimping out young girls for sex and selling the babies and the list of transgressions goes on. One has to wonder if part of the secrets were the possible involvement in the murder of Carol Ann Cole and other children that have disappeared forever into one of his troubled teen homes.
Next week we’re going to summarize the case and what the evidence seems to point to as the killer. I started this journey looking at the documentation on Mack Ford and the murder of Carol Ann Cole back in the summer of 2016, never dreaming it would take this many weeks to fully unpack everything. Even then I’ve had to condense down much of the information. I could have taken a good six months to dissect just the law suit documents from this section.
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.
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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