When it comes to crime, murder is as bad as it gets. Despite civilization's advancement over the past one hundred years, murder still occurs, and it happens in places you've never heard of. People move to Greenwood, Louisiana, to escape the crime of nearby Shreveport, but in May, 2003, residents of the town could not escape the horror of a brutal murder.
The body of a woman was found in the bushes beside US Highway 80 one mile east of Kelley's Truck Stop. She had been beaten and stabbed to death, but the extent of her injuries went beyond murder. Not only had she been stabbed multiple times, but most of the stab wounds were focused on her eyes and ears. Whoever killed her tried to obliterate her, and punish her for something he found offensive.
It was a crime of passion. The killer was bound to kill again, and everyone at the scene knew it, but no one said so. When the limits of brutality are transgressed in such a way, the killer will return to murder like a dog returns to his vomit because that type of anger feeds upon itself.
The first order of business that morning was to identify the woman, and the sooner the better, but you can't just jump into a crime scene and rummage through pockets. Things had to be done systematically and deliberately. The sense of urgency was real but processing a crime scene takes time.
When a crime scene investigator finally began to search the body, there was no ID. She had no pockets, and no purse could be found. The only hope left of quickly identifying her came from an unusual place: her jewelry. She was wearing a class ring from Rising Star High School in Texas.
The detective who was assigned to the case had little experience with homicides. Instead of referring to a textbook on murder investigations or following a homicide checklist, he bowed his head and asked God for help. After his prayer, he found out who owned the ring. Her name was Meagan McFarlin.
Denise McFarlin was Meagan's mother. Just days earlier, she contacted her local police department in Texas and made a missing person report on her daughter. Meagan had left town a month earlier with her boyfriend, David Ray Wammack. Wammack had swept Meagan off her feet six months earlier. He was a car thief and burglar. Denise knew he was scamming her, but Meagan was an adult. She refused to listen to her parent's warnings.
Over a year earlier, Wammack had been arrested with a Texas woman in Southaven, Mississippi. The detective located the woman, and asked her about him. She said Wammack was her former boyfriend. He was a car thief that was addicted to alcohol and cocaine. He traveled the interstate highway system in east Texas and Louisiana in stolen vehicles, living on the highway and staying at truck stops. For income, Wammack panhandled and hustled. Panhandling meant begging for money while telling lies about sick relatives and broken down vehicles. Hustling meant polishing wheels and tanks on eighteen wheelers for tips. He lived by his wits on the streets, sometimes bedding down in homeless shelters. The woman said her relationship with Wammack ended a year earlier when he, "...beat the hell out of me!" The ex-girlfriend was certain that he committed the homicide in Greenwood.
As a convicted felon, drug addict, and abuser of women, he was a good suspect, but thirty hours after the body was found in Greenwood, there was a problem - a big problem. The Caddo Parish Coroner determined that the woman was not Meagan McFarlin. No one knew who she was, or why she was wearing Meagan's class ring. The investigation was back to square one. It sounded like the detective's prayers were in vain, but a couple of hours later, things changed drastically.