Cold case, murder of Leola Jordan, probe continues after 12 years

Published 1:44 pm Friday, April 15, 2011

More than 12 years have passed since the horrendous murder of a 91 year-old Leola Jordan in Picayune, but to this day investigators have not given up on finding the killer or killers.

Capt. Jeremy Magri with the Picayune Police Department, said he was a patrol officer when the murder occurred on June 30, 1998 and was the first officer on the scene when the call came in at about 11:50 a.m.

Magri, now the chief investigator for the department, said the call originally came in as a cardiac arrest, which put him a state of mind not suited to what he would soon find when he arrived at the home located at 1204 Washington St. When he arrived he found a crowd of people outside the home who were originally waiting to have a family reunion at the deceased woman’s home.

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Inside the home was not a woman suffering from cardiac arrest. Instead, it was a murder crime scene, the first Magri said he’s ever seen. Magri said that day sticks out so well in his mind that he can still recall the patrol car assigned to him, a Crown Victoria from the late ’80s that still used rotating lights.

According to a news story that ran in the Item the next day, Jordan had died from multiple stab wounds. That story stated that a motive was still being investigated.  Magri said the investigation at Jordan’s home did not find anything missing, not even money.

Though more than a decade has passed, the investigations division is still working to find a suspect or suspects associated with the case. Magri said every time a new investigator comes into the department, he or she is asked to look at the case file in the hopes a new pair of eyes will notice something that will shed some light on the crime. Also, in 2008 the department called a meeting of investigators from all over Mississippi, from north to south, and presented the evidence to them for an outside view, Magri said. The case file is extensive, contained in an overstuffed three ring binder. It’s the largest case file in the department, Magri said.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to solve this case,” Magri said.

He and Capt. Lane Pittman said they have never given up on the case and they called on the Federal Bureau of Investigation in February of this year to take a look at the evidence the department has on file. Pittman said he hopes that maybe the FBI can find an angle on the case that may lead to an arrest.

With technology advancing at an ever increasing rate, Magri hopes that some of the evidence will yield new clues when the FBI looks it over, such as DNA or fingerprint evidence that can make that arrest possible.

“I would love to see this case solved before I retire,” Magri said. “I am going to do everything that I can with the assistance of Captain Pittman.”

Pittman said he’d like to see the case closed, not only to bring about justice, but most of all for closure for the family.

“I would like to know that if that was my grandma that the police were doing everything they could,” Pittman said.

“We will leave no stone unturned as far as this case is involved,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Dawsey. “We’re committed to bringing the killer or killers to justice, no matter how long it takes.”

Crime Stoppers is still offering a reward of $2,500 for information that will lead to an arrest and conviction. If anyone has information about this case, Magri or Pittman can be contacted by calling 601-798-4766, or the tip can be submitted anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 601-799-CLUE(2583).