In a cold case file that dates back to 1980, the Rapides Parish Sheriff's office has finally gotten a break.
On November 5, 1980, the RPSO reports they receive notification that skeletal remains had been discovered near LA Hwy 28 West near Gardner. Help from the FACES lab provided information that the body was a caucasian female, approximately 16-21 years old at the time of her death and created a reconstruction of the victims skull and documented her DNA profile.
In 2014, the sheriff's office received information in reference to the case which allowed the identification of Leo Laird, 64 and Gary Joseph Haymon, 54, both of Oakdale as suspects.
In July 2019, the sheriff's office received information relating to the identity of the victim. With the assistance of the FACES and Louisiana State Police Crime Labs, DNA testing identified the victim as Donna Gayle Brazzell. Donna was approximately eighteen years of age at the time of her death and had been residing in the Alexandria/Pineville area.
Sufficient probable cause was established and warrants were granted for Laird's and Haymon's arrest in reference to First Degree Murder, First Degree Rape, and Aggravated Kidnapping.
On August 14, 2019, Laird was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center where he remains. Bonds were set in reference to the charges of First Degree Rape, and Aggravated Kidnapping totaling $1,000,000.00. Bonds have yet to be set in reference to the charge of First Degree Murder.
Gary Joseph Haymon is currently in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections in reference to convictions relating to Second Degree Kidnapping, First Degree Robbery, and Public Bribery. Haymon is currently serving a forty-nine year sentence and is currently projected to be released in 2047. Arrangements are in place to have Haymon booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center in reference to his new charges.
Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office Detectives state their investigation is still ongoing and additional charges may be filed.