LACOMBE, La. (WGNO) — Authorities in two Southeast Louisiana parishes say they have made a big break in a cold case more than 30 years old.

Detectives say on March 13, 1989, human remains were discovered by hunters in a marshy wooded area near Slidell. Although pieces of the victim’s body were scattered, likely due to animals, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office was able to recover a human skull.

More than three decades later, authorities have identified the victim as a woman who went missing two years earlier.

At a press conference on Wednesday, officials with the St. Tammany and Lafourche Parish sheriff’s offices, along with the St. Tammany Parish coroner identified the remains as those belonging to 22-year-old Paula Boudreaux. Authorities say Boudreaux was reported missing from her Golden Meadow home by her family in August of 1986 — more than 100 miles away.

As DNA technology has progressed since the discovery of the remains, scientists with the LSU FACES Lab were able to determine what the female victim looked like at the time of her death in 2013.

In October 2022, St. Tammany Parish Coroner Charles Preston was contacted by the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) where detectives learned the remains could belong to a missing person out of Lafourche Parish — Paula Ann Boudreaux. That’s when parish officials contacted Lafourche Sheriff Craig Webre to assist.

Photo: DNA prediction compared to actual victim image

Photo: St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office

With the help of DNA samples obtained by Boudreaux’s relatives, investigators confirmed in January the remains scattered in the St. Tammany Parish woods belonged to the 22-year-old woman.

While foul play was already suspected in her disappearance, a criminal investigation has been launched into how Boudreaux died and who was responsible. A cause of death has not yet been determined and so far, no suspects have been identified.

Following her disappearance, Boudreaux left behind a 4-year-old son, now an adult with children of his own. Both her son and her son’s father have been notified of the identification of her remains. We’re told both of Boudreaux’s parents have died since her disappearance.

Detectives continue to piece together what happened to Paula Boudreaux and are asking anyone with any information to contact either sheriff’s office.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office: (985) 446-2255

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office:  985-898-2338

Stay updated with the latest news, weather, and sports by downloading the WGNO app on the Apple or Google Play store and subscribing to the WGNO newsletter.

Latest Stories