Cold Case: DNA evidence being sought in Leola Jordan murder case

Published 7:00 am Saturday, July 7, 2018

It’s been two decades, as of the end of last month, when the murder of Leola Jordan occurred at her home on Washington Street.

Shangra Jordan, Leola’s granddaughter, was 18 at that time, and was two weeks away from graduating from nursing school. Leola was to take a plane the next day to attend her granddaughter’s pinning ceremony in Joliet, Ill.

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But, 91-year-old Leola would never take that plane; instead the ticket was converted so Shangra could attend her grandmother’s funeral.

“I actually talked to her the day before she was murdered,” Shangra said via phone interview Friday.

Investigation into the murder determined that Leola suffered multiple stab wounds, but nothing was reported as missing from the home, according to previous coverage.

Due to advances in DNA evidence, Picayune Police Department Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri hopes that the evidence collected as part of the investigation, which has been submitted to the crime lab for DNA testing last year, will lead to an arrest.

Representatives from the FBI were called to review the evidence and provide any assistance recently.

Magri has a personal connection to the case because he was the first to arrive on scene as a rookie patrol officer. Details about the case are still clear in his mind, including the car he was driving and that family members were gathered outside Leola Jordan’s home, originally expecting to attend a family reunion.

“It’s something I want to see solved in my career, if not my lifetime,” Magri said.

Shangra said her grandmother was the glue that kept those reunions going. And, since her grandmother’s death, there has been a rift in the family.

Ultimately, Shangra hopes that someone with information about the case will finally step forward.

“She was the matriarch of the family. My family is still broken,” Shangra said.

To this day, each new detective that joins the department or is promoted to that rank reviews the case file, hoping that someone with fresh eyes will pick out something previously missed, Magri said.

So far, the only evidence in the case is circumstantial, preventing the department from making an arrest.

“You don’t want to try a case based on circumstantial evidence, because if you lose you can’t retry it,” Magri said.

Magri asks anyone with information about this case to call the department at 601-798-7411. If they would rather remain anonymous, they can call Crime Stoppers at 601-799-2583.