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Arts and Entertainment

Discovery Channel's New True Crime Series Tracks Investigations In Real Time

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Discovery Channel is looking to get into the true crime game with a new series, Killing Fields, which follows a real-time investigation into the murder of a young woman in 1997. Since the success of the Serial podcast, we've seen a number of investigative true crime series and documentaries, such as HBO's The Jinx and the upcoming Netflix documentary Making a Murderer. Discovery Channel is now preparing to launch their first foray into true crime with Killing Fields.

The series launches on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 10 p.m. The show takes its name from a term for seemingly serene and pretty landscapes that are revealed to be frequent dumping grounds for murderers to hide the bodies of their victims. The show follows an active criminal investigation as it proceeds, shot in real-time.

The first case takes place in Iberville Parish, La., a small town about 15 miles from Baton Rouge. In June of 1997, Eugenie Boisfontaine, a 34-year-old Louisiana State University (LSU) graduate student, disappeared. Most reports indicate she was last seen near LSU campus' lakes, though an exterminator also reported seeing her at her home. Boisfontaine's license and credit cards were discovered by a jogger near the lakes the day after she went missing, and police found her keys a few days after that. In August, her body was discovered in a ditch. Evidence indicated the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. There were no signs that her home had been broken into.

Detective Rodie Sanchez was assigned to the case in 1997, and has been turning it over in his mind for the last several years. Haunted by the unsolved case, he decided to come out of retirement, re-open the case, and hopefully bring Boisfontaine's killer to justice—a promise he made to Boisfontaine's mother. Sanchez will be working alongside Aubrey St. Angelo as well as other detectives from the Iberville Parish Sheriff's office.

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Surrounding Boisfontaine's murder are a number of strange circumstances. Serial killer Derrick Todd Lee was active in the Baton Rouge and Lafayette area between 1992 and 2003, dates that coincide with Boisfontaine's murder.

Lee had seven known victims, all women. Gina Green, a nurse, was found strangled in her home in Baton Rouge in 2001. Charlotte Pace had just graduated from LSU when she was found stabbed to death in her home in 2002. Pace had also just moved into a new home, but had previously lived on the same street where Green had been killed. And Boisfontaine also lived on that same street at the time of her death, according to The Guardian. Thus far, authorities have been unsuccessful in definitively linking Boisfontaine's murder to Lee, who was linked to the murders of the other women via DNA evidence.

In October, Sheriff Brett Stassi told WAFD that they've picked up some new leads surrounding Boisfontaine's case. "We've developed some new evidence that wasn't available at the original autopsy. We're moving forward with that information," he said. He also said there was at least one suspect they are investigating."

Killing Fields comes from Sirens Media, a Leftfield Entertainment Company, and is co-executive produced by Tom Fontana (St. Elsewhere, Oz) and director Barry Levinson (Rain Man, Good Morning, Vietnam).