Sierra Bouzigard Murder: Is Blake Russell Dead or Alive?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Forensic Files II: Constructing a Killer’ follows two brutal homicides solved with the help of cutting-edge forensic technology. One of the murders is that of 19-year-old Sierra Bouzigard, whose body was found in November 2009 in Moss Bluff, Louisiana. Surprisingly, the investigators had to wait almost a decade before catching their alleged suspect. If you wish to know more about this case, here’s what we know. 

How Did Sierra Bouzigard Die?

Sierra Gayle Bouzigard was born on August 10, 1990, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to Dana Bouzigard and Rickey Bruce. She spent most of her life in Lake Charles and Moss Bluff in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. According to Sierra’s family, she was a fun-loving, spiritual, cheerful, and beautiful being who spent her leisure shopping, fishing, waterskiing, and going to the movies and the beach. Her mother, Dana, reminisced on the show about how her daughter experienced a difficult childhood growing up and lamented how she was not always there for her when Sierra needed her.

On November 23, 2009, the police found the body of a woman brutally beaten to death in the early hours of the morning. It was situated in an abandoned and isolated area by John Koonce Road in Moss Bluff. The female victim was bruised beyond recognition; her denim skirt was twisted to the side, the shirt was pulled up, and her undergarments lay by the side of the road along with her flip-flops. Her autopsy report stated the cause of death to be heavy blunt-force trauma to her head. 

Lt. Beth McGee of Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office stated how the murder was overkill, referring to the excessive brutality exerted by the perpetrator. While the victim’s injuries made the authorities too challenging to identify her, they had a lucky breakthrough when they spotted a unique tattoo on her. Since body ink tends to be a significant identification mark, the authorities had a database of offenders’ tattoos. They ran against it to find a match for 19-year-old Sierra and confirmed she was the victim by further checking against her driver’s license and booking photograph. 

Who Killed Sierra Bouzigard?

According to the show, Sierra had a severe drug problem and resorted to working as a sex worker to fuel her addiction. Looking into her, the investigators learned she had been arrested on a minor drug charge and released from jail only three days before the murder. Although Sierra’s homicide seemed motivated by a sexual assault, the investigators found no DNA in her rape toolkit. It looked like she had successfully fought off her assault before the killer bludgeoned her to death. The coroner obtained the perpetrator’s DNA from under the victim’s fingernails.

The detectives also located a candy bar wrapper at the crime scene, which yielded a prominent DNA profile of the killer. From the overkill on display in Sierra’s case, the officers further hypothesized the alleged perpetrator was bound to kill before or at least commit prior violent crimes. They were confident they would find a match when they ran the DNA profile in CODIS. However, it yielded no result despite the high quality of the DNA profile retrieved from the different pieces of evidence from the crime scene.

The investigators traced Sierra’s activities before the murder and found she had been to a party on Victoria Drive in Moss Bluff in the late hours of November 22, 2009. She was last seen alive between midnight and 2:30 AM on November 23. The police interviewed at least 22 Hispanic male acquaintances of Sierra at the party, and they were found to be undocumented workers from Mexico. They willingly submitted their DNA, but none matched the alleged perpetrator’s profile.

Besides, the workers told the authorities that one of their unnamed colleagues had fled to Mexico after Sierra’s body was found. The law enforcement officials took the help of the FBI and the US Marshal to find the alleged immigrant worker had successfully fled the country. With no other lead or evidence to go on, the case went cold for nearly a decade until it was re-opened in 2017.

Parabon Nanolabs discovered a new DNA snapshot technology that allowed analysts to create an image of any individual using their DNA. This cutting-edge forensic technology was used in this homicide, and the authorities finally had a face to their suspect – Blake A. Russell. He was arrested in July 2017 after investigators received a tip in June of the same year about him being in DeQuincy, Louisiana. Russell was charged with second-degree murder, and his bond was set at $2 million as he awaited trial. 

Blake Russell Was Found Hanging in Prison

Blake, 32, remained incarcerated at the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Prison since July 2017 till his body was found by authorities on June 21, 2018, at around 5:00 AM. The alleged murder suspect had hung himself in a mop closet of the prison and was immediately rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. It is crucial to note Blake was never convicted of the crime. Sierra’s mother, Dana, said, “May God have mercy on his soul and prayers for his family. I don’t believe there will ever be closure, there is no such thing. For me, this is justice.” 

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