RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KLFY/KTAL) – DNA and determination have led investigators to two suspects in a 38-year-old cold case – and finally some answers for the family of Donna Gayle Brazzell.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office announced Monday that two Allen Parish men have been arrested and charged the murder of 18-year-old Donna Gayle Brazzell, whose skeletal remains were found in a wooded area near Gardner in November 1080.
With the help of the LSU FACES Lab, it was determined that the victim was a female between 16 and 21 years old. The lab was able to create a reconstruction of what the victim looked like and also documented her DNA profile.
The case eventually went cold until investigators got a tip in 2014 leading detectives to identify 64-year-old Leo Laird and 54-year-old Gary Joseph Haymon, both of Oakdale, as suspects.
It wasn’t until July of 2019 that DNA testing allowed the victim was identified as Donna Brazzell, who was approximately 18 at the time of her death and had been living in the Alexandria/Pineville area.
Investigators sufficient probable cause was established which resulted in warrants being granted for Laird’s and Haymon’s arrests on charges of first-degree murder, first-degree rape, and aggravated kidnapping.
Laird was arrested on August 14 and remains in custody at the Rapides Parish Detention Center. Haymon was already behind bars in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections, serving a 49-year sentence on charges of second-degree kidnapping, first-degree robbery, and public bribery. Arrangements are being made to have him booked into the RPDC on the new charges.
Investigators say more charges may be filed.
Continue reading to see the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office full post.