Geralyn DeSoto - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Geralyn DeSoto

Geralyn DeSoto became the sixth victim to be connected through DNA to serial killer suspect Derrick Todd Lee. The 21-year-old LSU graduate student was murdered at her home in Addis on January 14, 2002. Chronologically that would make DeSoto the second known serial killer victim, after Gina Wilson Green and before Charlotte Murray Pace.

Evidence found at DeSoto's murder scene had been sent to the State Police Crime Lab, but results came back inconclusive. It would be more than a year and a half before authorities would have a conclusive match to a suspect. Reliagene Technologies, a private DNA lab in New Orleans, was able to draw DNA samples from DeSoto's fingernail clippings. Those samples were a conclusive match to Derrick Todd Lee.

West Baton Rouge Sheriff Mike Cazes says the reason it took so long to get a match in DeSoto's murder is because the State Police Crime Lab could not conduct the new kind of DNA tests needed to gather evidence. However, DeSoto's family long suspected that she was a victim of the serial killer, often participating in the serial killer rallies that were held monthly at the State Capitol.

In an interview back in November of 2002, DeSoto's aunt told 9 News of the eerie similarities between the murders of her niece and LSU Grad Assistant Charlotte Murray Pace. She said she was told -- "If she would have been able to walk into the scene of the Pace murder, it would have bee like looking at Geralyn. It's that similar."

DeSoto and Pace were murdered around the same time of day, between noon and 2 p.m. Both women were LSU grad students. In fact, detectives say the day of her murder, DeSoto had just returned from LSU where she registered for graduate classes. Like Pace, DeSoto was badly beaten and stabbed as many as 10 times. You may remember Pace's portable telephone was never found, neither was DeSoto's. But perhaps the most striking similarity -- DeSoto's throat was slashed just like Pace's.

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