Ten years ago, 58-year-old Barbara Blount disappeared from her Holden home.
Authorities found pots and pans stacked on her kitchen floor, part of a spring house cleaning. More ominously, they also found her car abandoned in the woods on a nearby gravel road.
On Tuesday, Livingston Parish authorities again sought the public's help in solving the mystery of what happened to Blount, who went missing on May 2, 2008.
At a news conference, Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard urged anyone who might have useful information about her disappearance to come forward.
“Someone knows something, and we’re asking, if you know something, to come forward,” Ard said. “Even if you know that you have given us information already in the past, give it to us again. This case is very important to us.”
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Ard was joined at the press conference by three relatives of Blount, who implored the public to help them bring closure to the decade-long mystery.
“If there is anyone out there that knows anything, please come forward,” said Kristie Thompson, Blount’s daughter. “We need answers.”
The sheriff said he plans to renew efforts in the investigation by re-testing DNA samples that were obtained from Blount’s car.
“We are hoping that advanced DNA testing will help on this case,” he said.
Ard said Tuesday that investigators believe Blount was lured from her home, possibly by someone she knew. There were no signs of forced entry at her home on La. 1036 in Holden and no signs of a robbery, Ard said.
Ard said Blount intended to clean her house that day, and police found pots out and stacked on the kitchen floor when they arrived. Blount, whose husband died in a train collision accident in 2004, had been living alone.
Blount’s abandoned vehicle, a 2006 Toyota Camry, was found the same day she disappeared about a quarter-mile from her home along a gravel, hunting club road in a wooded area, Ard said.
Backwater flooding from heavy rains initially hampered searches for Blount by law enforcement investigators and volunteers. Ard said the rain was so heavy that water covered the floorboard of Blount’s vehicle.
“It hampered our efforts not only that day, but in the days to follow,” he said.
Dozens of volunteers and a mounted search team from Texas assisted local law enforcement in searching for the missing woman.
Ard said that investigators have received numerous leads over the years and followed up on them. However, he said, the case has had “a lot of dead ends.”
Ard said the sheriff’s office does have “some pretty good suspects” but did not name them, because he does not know conclusively who is responsible.
“That’s not to say they’re not on our radar," Ard said. "They’re very much on it. We watch and ... gather whatever information we can gather.”
The FBI has continued to stay in contact with the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office on the case, Ard said.
Blount’s family said it has been very difficult in the years since the disappearance of Blount, whom they described as a Christian mother of two adult children with a love for hummingbirds and roses.
“I just can’t explain the hurt and the agony we’ve been through,” said Sarah Baughman, Blount’s sister. “To try to sleep at night and wake up with her — seeing her face hollering, help me, help me — what can I do except turn to God and pray.”
Suzanne Honeycutt, Blount’s niece, said the perpetrator robbed Blount of the joy of helping to raise her four grandchildren and watching them grow up.
“No, we don’t think we’re probably ever going to find her remains, but what gets us through day after day after day is our faith in God and knowing she is in heaven with God and that one day we are going to reunite with her again. But until then, we are not giving up. We are going to leave no rock uncovered. And we want closure,” Honeycutt said.