The True Murder Story behind the HBO series True Detective

How the notorious Jennings, Louisiana sherriff's and police departments covered up the murders of 8 young women between 2005 and 2010.



In this episode we're talking about the murders of 8 young women in southwest Louisiana, as reported in the great book and documentary television series "Murder in the Bayou" by Ethan Brown. The story is not only a true crime television series, but also very close in plot details to the first season of the fictional HBO series True Detective, starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, written by Nic Pizzolatto. If you like our content please become a patron to get more premium episodes like this one, as well as all of our public episodes ad-free. 1

The Jennings, Louisiana law enforcement agencies were notorious nationwide before these murders took place. In the 1990s they made national news in an investigation by NBC's Dateline, into fraudulent drug charges related to vehicle seizures along Interstate 10 between Houston and New Orleans. The Jennings area police complicit in that scam were paying themselves bonuses for fake drug busts and buying lavish toys and properties with the ill gotten proceeds.

But a lot is never enough, and those same police graduated to running protection for other criminal enterprises later on in the early 2000s. Most of the drug and sex trade in Jennings ran through a strip club owner named Frankie Richard, who was not surprisingly also the police's most prized informant. Frankie was implicated in at least two of the murders of the 8 women discussed in this episode, but was never tried for the crimes despite eye-witness accounts detailing the manner in which he and his niece killed the two victims. Another man was stabbed to death after only saying that he knew what happened to one of the dead girls. A third man was mysteriously hit by a train. 2

And last but not least, but perhaps most predictably, Republican congressman Charles Boustany was rumored to have frequented a motel in Jennings where the 8 dead girls often sold sexual favors. Frankie Richard said he had sex with 3 of the girls who wound up dead, and the motel was being managed and operated by one of Boustany's campaign staffers at the time. The accusations cost Boustany his 2008 run for the US Senate, but he remained the US House Representative from the district encompassing Jennings until 2017. Family values, folks. 3


1. David Renshaw. HBO executive admits he rushed ‘True Detective’ writer into creating second season. NME. January 2016. 

2. Ethan Brown. Who Killed the Jeff Davis 8?. Medium. January 2014. 

3. Allegra Kirkland. What’s The Deal With Those Wild Prostitution Claims Against A GOP Rep.?. Talking Points Memo. September 2016. 

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