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Cold case: Louisiana detectives seek public’s help in unsolved ‘Man in the Well’ murder investigation

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Louisiana police asked for the public’s help last week in determining where two suspects were when a man went missing in 1984, and later found dead.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said one of the suspects, Patricia Tito, 58, is in custody for a homicide she committed in Shreveport in 2003.

Patricia Tito, now 58, and Delvin Avard Sibley, 76, are persons of interest in the murder of Lester Rome, who went missing in Louisiana in 1984 and was later found in the bottom of a well. (Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office)

Tito identified Delvin Avard Sibley, 76, as the man allegedly responsible for killing Lester Rome in 1984.

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Police said Sibley is considered a person of interest and ask anyone with information about his possible involvement in the murder, or later disposal of the victim’s remains, to come forward.

Rome’s family reported him missing in January 1984 to the Grand Isle Police Department, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office got involved in the case that year.

Patricia Tito mugshots

Patricia Tito mugshots (Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office)

At the time, Tito was living at Rome’s home and running his business. When asked where Rome was, Tito told police he had gone on a trip and denied knowledge of foul play.

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Once all leads were exhausted, the missing persons case was suspended. But two years later, the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office opened a homicide investigation after human remains were discovered in a water well in Many, Louisiana.

For 35 years, the remains were left unidentified, and the case became known as “The Man in the Well.” It was determined that the person who was killed died of blunt force trauma and possible stab wounds.

Delvin Avard Sibley booking Photo

Delvin Avard Sibley booking Photo (Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office)

The Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office identified the remains in 2021 as Lester Rome, and investigators from Sabine and Jefferson parishes shared information about the cases with each other.

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Investigators with Sabine Parish learned through an interview with Tito that Rome was killed in Grand Isle before his body was dumped in Sabine Parish

When Jefferson Parish investigators took over the investigation, they interviewed Tito, and she took them to the place where Rome was killed on Grand Isle, near Elmer’s Island.

Tito allegedly told investigators she was there when Rome was killed but Sibley committed the crime.

She also allegedly told investigators that when Sibley left Grand Isle, he took Rome’s remains.

Detectives learned during the investigation that the well where Rome’s body was found was on a property owned by Sibley’s family.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office obtained an arrest warrant for Tito with a charge of second-degree murder in the death of Rome.

Police said it is not clear what her involvement was, but she had knowledge of the death and did not tell law enforcement agencies or Rome’s family about the murder between 1984 and 2021.

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The sheriff’s office encourages anyone with information about the disappearance or murder of Rome, the whereabouts of Sibley and Tito in 1984 or any other information to contact investigators at 504-364-5300.



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