Latest Developments In The Case Of Missing Keiosha Felix
Keiosha Felix has been missing since April 30. On Wednesday, the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office held a media briefing, along with members of Keiosha’s family, to talk about the case.
Keiosha’s mother, Kiera Thibodeaux, as well as her aunt Keona Lewis and her grandfather all spoke. Her grandfather talked about how much he appreciated the efforts made by all departments involved to find Keiosha. These departments include the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Louisiana State Police, the Lafayette District Attorney’s Office, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office and the FBI, which still has a $5,000 reward for locating the missing teen who recently turned sixteen on April 8. All of her family members expressed how much they miss her, and how much they want her returned home safely. Captain Kip Judice with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office says their mission has been, since the beginning, to bring Keiosha home. “It has been the goal and the priority of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office to find Keiosha, bring her home and determine what was the cause of her disappearance for this period of time,” says Capt. Judice.
Captain Judice says “there is no forensic evidence that anything bad has happened to her.” He says they have not yet been able to locate Keiosha. They say they are not ruling out any possibilities, including human trafficking or that she may have run away. “We hope that we are a lot closer,” says Judice. “We have eliminated some things.”
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office assumed the lead role in the case after it was being handled by the Duson PD, which was a source of controversy. There were different leads that popped up in the case, even a “potential witness” that “purchased a device that was later used to communicate with Keiosha, or at least with Keiosha’s phone,” according to Captain Kip Judice. Capt. Judice says the device was bought at the Lafayette AT&T store on Louisiana Avenue. Police say he is not a suspect but may have some helpful information related to this case.
Numerous people have been arrested in the Duson teen’s case, including her cousin Portia Felix, her aunt Patricia Andrus, Andrus’ boyfriend Leon Wilkerson and his brother Ronald Wilkerson. Portia Felix was charged with obstruction of justice while Andrus was charged with accessory to rape and improper supervision. Leon Wilkerson was charged with second-degree kidnapping and simple rape in Keiosha’s case while Ronald’s charges were not released. He was being treated as a fugitive by the Duson Police Department and was arrested in Baton Rouge on a warrant. Capt. Judice says those cases “are no longer active” as they were arrested before the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office took over the case and no official charges have been filed by the Lafayette District Attorney’s Office.
While all this was happening, Captain Judice said tips led deputies to believe Keiosha was still alive and was possibly in the Baton Rouge area. But they have also gotten tips, 27 in all, from numerous states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Florida, Minnesota, Maryland, Oregon and California. Investigators have conducted 72 interviews, issued 20 subpoenas and executed 4 search warrants. Over 2,000 flyers have been distributed and countless electronic missing person flyers have been distributed. Nearly 1500 investigative hours have been dedicated by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office to finding Keiosha. This is in addition to 500 hours being put in by State Police, 400 hours by the Department of Child and Family Services, 200 hours by the FBI and 80 hours by the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.
Some good news has come out of this investigation. An endangered teen that police say resembled Keiosha was found as police were following up on a tip. The girl had run away from her northeast Texas home and was returned home before Thanksgiving 2012.