Kenner, LA

Louisiana Cold Case Closed After ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Tip

Josie Klakström
Dernell Nelson via Kenner Police Department

35 year old Dernell Nelson was arrested on the 22nd of April for the murders of Hermania Ellsworth and Charles Davis in 2010.

Hermania Ellsworth (29) and Charles Davis (38) were found dead in their car that had crashed into the yard of a house on Farrar Street in Kenner, Louisiana. At the scene, the couple was pronounced dead from multiple gunshot wounds, but their three year old son was found alive in the back seat, with injuries from the car crash.

Three weeks later, the bodies of Lynette Williams (42) and Herbert Glass (58) were found in Lake Pontchartrain, near New Orleans. The couple has been bound with duct tape and shot, and their car had been set on fire and found at interstate 59’s exit near Pearl River. Their bodies were believed to be in the water between 12 and 24 hours, and it was thought that they’d floated from the south shore of the lake.

At the time, detectives weren’t sure if the couple had been killed at the lake, and the case left many unanswered questions for the police.

"There's still a lot of unanswered questions in this case," said St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain at the time to "The primary unanswered question is, 'Where is the murder scene? Where were these two people killed?' We have not yet found that scene."

The couple had recently come into some money and had shared the news with many people, but police weren’t sure this was the reason for their murders. The victim’s jewellery was still on their bodies when they were found.

The two seemingly unconnected murders in fact had one major link; the second couple lived in the house where Ellsworth and Davis crashed into the front yard just weeks earlier.

Dernell Nelson was a suspect at the time, but with a lack of anything other than circumstantial evidence, no one was arrested for the four killings and the case went unsolved for over a decade.

The case was reopened in March this year when the Unsolved Mysteries team got a call from someone with information about the Ellsworth and Davis case. The production team then called Kenner police and cold case detective, Nick Engler, was given the information.

The investigator went through the lab results and witness statements, and finally, on the 22nd of April, Dernell Nelson was arrested on two counts of first-degree murder of Hermania Ellsworth and Charles Davis, due to DNA confirmation. He has yet to be charged in connection to Lynette Williams and Herbert Glass’ murders.

Unsolved Mysteries has helped solve many cases over the three decades the programme has intermittently run. According to Women’s Health, the show has helped solve six – now seven – cases and has helped identify 50 missing children.

With the internet full of web sleuths and armchair detectives, the remaining 586 episodes are now ripe for the picking. The producers of the show are confident that airing the new episodes on Netflix can only help with closing the cases.

"The original episodes just aired at a given time on a given day, and then they'd maybe rerun, but that’s all the audience would ever see of them. But because the new series is on Netflix, viewers have the opportunity to go back, look at them again, look at the clues, and just get very involved in trying to solve these cases," said Terry Dunn Meurer in Esquire, who’s produced more than 500 episodes of the show.

After the news broke that Nelson had been arrested, Unsolved Mysteries took to Twitter.
Unsolved Mysteries on Twitter

If you have further information regarding any of the murders, please contact the Kenner Police at (504) 712-2222 or Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111.

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