In Colbert, Georgia, on June 5, 2000, local amateur bodybuilder, 38-year-old Doug Benton, disappears. Two weeks later, Benton is found shot and ‘stabbed,’ his body encased in cement inside a cattle trough, dumped on a remote stretch of farmland. … [Read More...]
If your big brother was killed by murderers who thoughtlessly tossed his remains, would you spend a fortune and 30 years to stalk those responsible and bring them to justice? Yeah, you might want to, but…From the moment he found out his brother was missing, Ted Kergan launched an unparalleled search and recovery mission that put him on a collision path with a teenage-prostitute-turned-registered-nurse and her much older drifter ex-boyfriend, now a Santa Claus doppelganger living on disability.
Ted Kergan tracked the couple’s erratic footsteps through New Orleans’ famed French Quarter during the 1984 World’s Fair, where she sold her body and he worked in a porn shop and as a fully-costumed clown ministering to children. Within a month of their move to Baton Rouge, Gary Kergan, a charismatic businessman, was dead and this odd couple fled to Las Vegas. In a lear jet Ted Kergan rented on his American Express card, Baton Rouge detectives rushed to Las Vegas and extradited the couple to Baton Rouge, where, several months later, the new district attorney decided not to prosecute because Gary Kergan’s body had not been recovered.
Fast forward 28 years into a world where DNA testing confirmed blood in the trunk of Gary Kergan’s Cadillac Eldorado matched that of his son, Wade, who was just 11 years old when his father died. This body of blood put the Kergan cold case on the front burner. Ted Kergan worked with law enforcement officials to have the perpetrators charged with first degree murder and returned to the city of the crime. The ensuing four years were a rollercoaster ride with twists and turns past a suicide attempt by one of the murderers, a Texas EquuSearch dig for Gary Kergan’s body and a September 2015 trial in which one of the killer’s extensive 1984 diary entries became the stars of the show.
From The Book:
Acadia Parish Sheriff Ken Goss had originally put out the all-points bulletin on Gary’s Cadillac, so he was also notified when the missing car was discovered. He immediately called Ted to let him know the Cadillac was on its way to Baton Rouge. Naturally, Ted wanted to see that car himself; there was no way Ted would accept a second-hand description about the state of that vehicle. Goss had Larry Tucker meet Ted at the State Police Crime Lab, located in Baton Rouge’s mid-city area. Inside the lab, a state trooper pulled Larry Tucker off to the side, out of Ted’s earshot, letting Larry know about the large pool of blood in the car’s trunk. The trooper suggested Larry keep Ted from looking into the trunk. Larry knew there was no way that was going to happen. Instead Larry prepared Ted for what he was going to see, then backed off to give him room to approach the back of the car alone.
Ted glanced briefly into the trunk and quickly retreated. “Your blood runs cold,” He explained, remembering. “You steel yourself beforehand. You sort of see the blood, but you sort of don’t. There’s stuff thrown everywhere in the trunk. So I’m thinking, ‘Is that a lot of blood? What does that mean?’ Then your defense mechanisms put you in denial. It was just another level of horror.”
Ted asked a trooper what the amount of blood meant. At first the officer didn’t answer, but Ted persisted.
“That’s a substantial amount of blood,” the trooper finally told him. The remark later proved to be a gentle understatement. The odd-shaped pool of coagulated blood was a foot wide in some areas. Patches of dried blood stained a number of items in the trunk, including coin changer boxes and bank deposit slips.
Meanwhile, Larry Tucker took a long gander into the trunk, then questioned crime lab technician James Churchman, who was fully engaged in collecting all the evidence the car held – both inside and outside. He summed it up: the victim was already dead when placed in the trunk or he had died there. There was too much blood for any other alternative end but death,. Even with mounting bad news from the days before, both men had held out a glimmer of hope that they would find Gary alive. But seeing the car and that large body of blood in the trunk sucked all hope out of Ted Kergan. As his inner voice of reason finally overcame the one in denial, he accepted the fact that by the time the early hours of Thursday, November 29 had rolled around, his brother lay dead in the trunk of his own car.
I picked up the phone in my Lafayette office one afternoon in September 2012 and said hello to a pleasant voice from the past. I hadn’t spoken to Memry Tucker, the daughter of a long-time business associate, in years.
“Memry calmly dropped a bomb. She had news about the unsolved murder of my older brother, Gary Kergan. I was speechless. How was Memry, of all people, involved in a case that had been closed for nearly 30 years?
By the time Memry and I hung up, my head was swimming in even more questions. What unfolded over the next three years was amazing. I had doubts about this book, because I wasn’t sure the story could be told in a way others would believe ‒ uncanny coincidences and weird twists of fate.
These pages demonstrate author Chris Blackwood’s dedication and marvelous gift of storytelling. She captures the best example of Gary’s legacy ‒ all the people who fought so long and hard for justice for him. These were mostly people he never knew. That’s the impact my brother had on people.
I’m tempted to say I was fortunate to cross paths with them. But was it fortune? As I would come to learn, Gary had been looking down the entire time, guiding and protecting me as he always had.” – Ted Kergan, August 2017