Rodie Sanchez has never forgotten Eugenie Boisfontaine.
In 34 years of crime solving, it’s her 1997 murder the retired Iberville Parish Sheriff’s detective just can’t shake.
“This case haunts me. Every day I get a chance, I think about that poor girl. I wish I could still do something,” Sanchez says in the first episode of Discovery Channel’s new series “Killing Fields.”
The show is Discovery Channel’s first true-crime series and focuses on the remote killing fields or dumping grounds across the country where killers stash their victims. Many of these cases are unsolved, including LSU graduate student Boisfontaine’s. Her case will encompass the series’ entire six-episode first season.
“We didn’t start out just to tell the story of Eugenie Boisfontaine, but that’s where we ended up, because there was just so much to tell,” Joseph Schneier, an executive producer for Discovery Channel, said.
In tackling the true-crime realm, Schneier said the network knew it wanted to veer away from the formula of such series already airing.
“A lot of our programming is a lot more focused on the outdoors, on sort of big epic locations, and while you can tell some great crime stories in big cities, that’s really not our bread and butter,” Schneier said. “Early on the production company, Sirens (Media), came forth with an idea to focus more on landscapes and crime and the intersection there, and so from there, we were looking at places all over the country and talking to various police departments and stories.
“We finally decided on working with Iberville and the detectives there, and they were looking at several of their cold cases, and this is one that seemed to just sort of push forward. It’s sort of a long culling process to get where we are. We’re very happy we’re here.”
Also on board for the series are some heavy-hitting co-executive producers in Emmy-Award-winning producer Tom Fontana (“St. Elsewhere,” “Oz”) and Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson (“Rain Man,” “Diner”).
Boisfontaine, 34, was found dead in Bayou Manchac in Iberville Parish in August 1997. She had a skull fracture. Two months earlier, a jogger had found the missing woman’s driver’s license and credit cards on a path near the LSU lakes in Baton Rouge, where she often walked and jogged. She lived on nearby Stanford Avenue.
Since August, when the Boisfontaine case was officially reopened, film crews have been shadowing Iberville detectives re-examining old evidence and searching for new clues.
The series is being shot in real time and filming will continue up until tshe finale airs Feb. 9.
The renewed investigation has brought Sanchez out of retirement to work alongside newbie Detective Aubrey St. Angelo. Sanchez remembers working with St. Angelo’s father.
“I’m eager to try to break it open,” the younger St. Angelo says in the first episode.
“I’ve got to find this som’bitch if it’s the last thing I do,” Sanchez adds about the killer.
The pair is working with other Iberville detectives to bring the case, and thus Discovery’s story, to some level of closure, Schneier said.
“These are some amazing investigators we’re working with. They did a lot of great work back then, and there’s now a lot of advanced technology, things you can do with DNA that you couldn’t do 18 years ago, and it definitely allows them to take a fresh look at some of the stuff they looked at early on,” Schneier said.
“There was something special early on about Rodie (Sanchez), kind of his personal feelings towards this case. He’s a guy who’s got a story to tell, and we found it intriguing.”
WHAT: New true-crime series
WHEN: 9 p.m. Tuesdays
WHERE: Discovery Channel (cable Channel 46 in Baton Rouge and Lafayette)