This is the another case from central Louisiana that is considered unsolved but everyone in this small-town believes they know exactly who’s to blame.
I want to reiterate that no one has been indicted on charges directly related to Ray's murder. Everyone mentioned in this episode is innocent until proven guilty.
Hey y’all! I’m your host, Peyton, and today I want to tell you about another case from central Louisiana that is considered unsolved but everyone in this small-town believes they know exactly who’s to blame. This is The Crimes-Picayune.
On July 2nd 2015, 35 year old Ray Lachney had planned to stay overnight at the shop he was working at.
According to his mom, Ray and his girlfriend had a pretty tumultuous relationship. Whenever they would get into fights, she would kick him out onto the streets and he’d have to find a place to go which is why Ray was staying at his workplace.
His boss would let him stay at the shop where he was doing paint and body work so he had a roof over his head and a place to sleep.
Well, that night, Ray took a car from the shop without permission.
To make a long story short, he ended up at the sheriff’s office but his boss didn’t press charges because he knew Ray wasn’t taking it for nefarious reasons.
A sheriff’s officer was asked to bring Ray to a hotel, but for whatever reason the officer brought him to the neighborhood of a girl Ray used to know but when he discovered she no-longer lived there, he walked to the house of another woman he knew named Lisa Rabalais.
Ray and Lisa had a past. I’m not sure how deep it was or if it was just a friendship or romantic with feelings or what but I do know that the pair had known each other previously.
To give you a little bit of a backstory, Ray Paul Lachney (you can also pronounce it as Lawsh-nay like his mom does) was born May 20, 1980 in TX to his mother, Debbie.
She raised Ray and his sister as a single mom and she said he always felt that it was his job to watch over them and to be “the man” of the house. His mom said that growing up he made very good grades in school and played football. He was a hard worker, respectful, and polite but he was also known to be a jokester and always loved to see people laugh.
Ray joined the Marines and served for several years before eventually returning back home to Louisiana.
On July 3, so just the next day, Ray went on a trip to Zachary, LA with Lisa and her boyfriend Andy. Lisa’s apartment, the one Ray walked to the night before, was located in the town of Mansura.
Mansura is just south of Alexandria and Zachary is just north of Baton Rouge so this would’ve only been about an hour and a half’s drive one-way.
The two had planned on making a trip to Zachary because Andy, Lisa’s boyfriend, had seen a camper available for purchase on Facebook but it would need some work before getting on the road. Ray had the skills to fix the camper so he rode with the couple so they would be able to bring the camper back with them to Mansura.
According to Lisa’s story on sleuthandjustice.com, Ray and Andy argued during their trip to get the camper, but the website doesn’t explicitly state why or what they were arguing about.
Lisa claims that they pulled over because Ray felt sick. She says Andy got out of the car to get Ray back in but he wouldn’t. So Andy just left him there.
Lisa and Andy were the last people to see Ray that day.
The officers at the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office would not take Ray’s mother, Debbie’s, claims seriously and she would not be allowed to file a missing person’s report on her son until September 3, 2015 - two months after Ray went missing.
She wasn’t the one that filed it either - she had to ask a family member to file the report because the officers, for whatever reason, wouldn’t allow his mom to file it.
One month after the missing person’s report was filed, so three months since he had last been seen, Lisa brought Ray’s wallet into the sheriff’s office.
It’s never been made clear, but I would like to know where she magically found it.
Shortly after “finding Ray’s wallet,” Lisa moved to Baton Rouge. She posted a selfie on Facebook and in the caption it talks about her move. It says, “I want to give a special thanks to the new people that has entered my world since I moved to BR. Moving here knowing no one, unemployed, and making a major move out the AP (Avoyelles Parish) to start a new life was exciting but also very scary!! Well it’s been 5 weeks of pure positive people and great jobs.” She continues on the post saying thank you to her roommate but the screenshot I have cuts off the rest of the post.
This picture was posted on November 14, so if we go back five weeks to see the date that she moved it would be around the beginning of October or maybe even the end of September.
To me, it seems like as soon as she turned that wallet in, she dipped out of town.
Ray’s family felt as if they were being ignored and they weren’t taking his case seriously. They also felt that in order for their son to be found, they had to conduct searches of their own.
His mother was living several hours away so it was difficult and very expensive for her and her husband, Brian, to search so far from where they were living.
They also had a lot of area to search because they had no idea at this point in time where Ray was last seen.
The family received information suggesting they search in an area on the outskirts of the town of Mansura.
On January 3, 2016 - exactly six months to the day since Ray was last seen - his body was found by his stepfather off of a dead end road near a set of railroad tracks within the tree-line.
Ray’s pants were found as well as his tennis shoes.
His body had reached the last stage in the decomposition process and had fully skeletonized by the time he was found.
His bank card was also found nearby - which I find odd that it wasn’t in his wallet.
It’s alleged that Ray had just gotten paid several hundred dollars cash right before he went missing, but when his wallet was turned into the sheriff’s office by Lisa, the money was gone.
Ray’s mom said he’s a creature of habit and always kept his keys and wallet on him - so 1) why was his wallet not in his pocket like normal, and 2) why was his debit card not in the wallet where it belonged?
Let’s go back to the location Ray was found for a second.
The road is called Dr. T-Doo’s Rd.
I’m going to try and explain this the best I can, but driving from Zachary back to Lisa’s you would be driving north on Hwy 1. To access this road, you would have to exit the highway by turning left onto Hwy 1186.
Then from Hwy 1186, you would take a right and you’d be on Dr. T-Doo’s Rd.
The road runs under Hwy 1 and over some railroad tracks.
And from Hwy 1, like if you’re driving on the overpass, you can’t really see the road or tracks below because of the incline of the highway and the treeline blocks the view too.
From what I could see on Google Earth, there were three houses on this road at the time of Ray’s death.
More specifically, Ray was found on the property of one of the homes on that street.
The area had already been searched several times with cadaver dogs by Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
According to an article by avoyellestoday.com, an officer with APSO explained “heavy vegetation would have hidden the body from view. The area is largely defoliated now, which made the body easier to spot during the family’s search.”
I find this interesting that nothing of Ray’s was found during their “searches.”
According to his mom, the majority of his body was found only about six feet into the woodline.
Also, not to be gruesome, but how did none of the homeowners on that road or the investigators smell Ray’s body decomposing?
His body was believed to be there from JULY to JANUARY. The average high temperature the week after Ray went missing was 93º! And it stayed in the 90s until September! Louisiana’s temperatures peak from July through August and even September.
I understand that the foliage was probably overgrown making it difficult to see through to the ground, but what is the point of searching if you’re not going to do it thoroughly??
Ray’s remains were said to have been somewhat-scattered and not all intact, probably due to wildlife, but if this area was truly searched, the investigators had several opportunities to find something but they didn’t!
Not to mention they only had to go about six feet into the woods...
Ray’s body was examined by a forensics lab out of Baton Rouge called FACES, which stands for Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services and they positively identified the remains as belonging to Ray on January 20th 2016.
The coroner, Dr. L. J. Mayeaux, claimed that the body was too badly decomposed, therefore the cause of death was listed as “undetermined.”
I’m guessing due to the lack of progression on the case, in May of that same year, a grand jury met at the Avoyelles Parish Courthouse to decide if the investigation into Ray’s death should continue and his case remain open.
While this decision was being made inside, on the outside protestors, made up of family and friends, gathered with signs. According to an article from The Marksville Weekly News, the signs were encouraging passing motorists to honk in support of justice for Ray.
Some of the signs said “Put an end to corruption in Avoyelles” and “Too many deaths without convictions.”
Corruption in Avoyelles Parish wasn’t something I was familiar with or even knew about before I looked into Ray’s case and you will see just the surface of it throughout this episode. I would go more in-depth, but I think it deserves an entire episode of its own.
The decision was made to keep Ray’s case open, but at that time “it wasn’t being classified as a murder” according to the DA Charles Riddle.
In that article, Riddle also said “There is at least one person we want to follow up on… There is also a person on a telephone recording who we are trying to identify.”
Things were pretty quiet for several months until February of 2018 when Lisa Rabalais was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of “accessory after the fact.”
She wasn’t arrested until one month later on March 16th but bonded out that same day.
Her trial was scheduled for later that year in September.
Rabalais was re-arrested on September 17.
She was allegedly supposed to turn herself in the week before (I want to say for a pre-trial hearing or something), so now in addition to the original accessory charges, she was arrested and charged with obstruction of justice.
But, thanks to two property bonds, Rabalais was free yet again on September 24th.
Trial was supposed to begin the next May, but for unknown reasons it kept getting pushed back until finally in September of 2019, Lisa Rabalais’ trial began.
The coroner, LJ Mayeaux, was the first to testify.
According to an article by KALB, Rabalais’ defense attorney, Chad Guillot, asked the coroner about Ray’s cause of death. Mayeaux testified that due to the amount of time the body had been exposed to the elements, a cause of death wasn’t able to be determined.
It also states that Mayeaux described the injuries Ray had sustained but doesn’t specify what kind.
The article continues, saying that “his thyroid bone was missing.”
I’m thinking this was just a misprint, because humans don’t have a thyroid bone - we have a hyoid bone.
Hyoid bones are located in the neck, just below your jaw bone and in the same area as the thyroid gland and thyroid cartilage.
To know that his hyoid bone was missing is actually pretty important.
Oftentimes when an individual is strangled, their hyoid bone breaks. Having that bone would’ve provided the coroner with additional evidence to help possibly lead him to a COD as well as a MOD.
Manner of death being homicide, suicide, accident, etc.
I say possibly because just because an individual is strangled does not mean their hyoid bone will break and just because it’s broken doesn’t mean they were strangled.
After Mayeaux’s questioning was complete, a woman named Lana took the stand.
Lisa Rabalais cleaned Lana’s beauty shop for her and according to Lana, one day at the beginning of September the year Ray went missing, Lisa came into work and spilled everything to her.
Remember just weeks after this confession to Lana, Rabalais “finds Ray’s wallet” and books it out of town.
Lana claims Rabalais told her about their trip down south to pick up the camper her boyfriend, Andy, had purchased, that Ray and Andy argued throughout the trip, and that they pulled over to let Ray out because he “felt sick” but wouldn’t get back into the car so they just left him there.
But then Lana continues with Rabalais’ story and according to the same KALB article I mentioned earlier, “Rabalais then told her that Bordelon dropped her off at home, then left the house and returned around 3 a.m. When the State asked [Lana] what Rabalais told her Bordelon said when he returned home, the defense objected, claiming it was hearsay. Ultimately, Judge Bennett, who is overseeing the jury, overruled the objection. [Lana] then answered the original question, saying that Rabalais told her that Bordelon admitted to killing Lachney while he was gone, and mentioned a good place to dump the body.”
On the second day of trial, Rabalais was the last witness to take the stand.
She repeatedly denied having anything to do with Ray’s death and said, “I swear to God I don’t know what happened to Ray Lachney.”
We all know what it usually means when people “swear to God”
On September 18 she was found guilty of “accessory after the fact to 2nd degree murder.”
She was sentenced the next month and received 5 years in prison but was able to bond out again because of a Louisiana law that states if the sentence is five years or less, you’re entitled to bond out.
Rabalais’ attorney also filed a motion to seek acquittal of the accessory charge.
Eight months later she was busted in Mississippi and arrested for possession of schedule II.
I’m not sure why she wasn’t sent back to Louisiana immediately after this because this arrest meant she broke her bond agreement, but she wasn’t.
She actually didn’t return to Louisiana until November after she was arrested again in Mississippi.
On January 12, 2021 - so just over a month ago at the time of recording - Lisa Rabalais went to third circuit court where her appeal was denied.
And as of right now, she’s still in prison.
You’re probably wondering what her boyfriend, Andy Bordelon, was charged with, right?
He has never been charged with a single thing in relation to Ray’s death.
Why? Because apparently there’s nothing that ties him, through evidence, to killing Ray.
In the motion filed by her attorney, he - meaning her attorney Chad Guillot - argued that there wasn’t enough sufficient evidence to say that a homicide had even occurred. He says the state only had circumstantial evidence and that “because this case deals with an intentional homicide where the cause of death of the victim is undetermined, there is no murder weapon, there are no perimortem (at or near the time of death) wounds on the victim’s remains and the only evidence tending to prove that intentional homicide took place is the uncorroborated testimony of two witnesses who testified that the defendant told them certain things about the alleged homicide.”
I believe that if authorities had taken Ray’s disappearance seriously when his mother first made those phone calls, they might have been able to collect enough evidence and I probably wouldn’t even be telling you this story today.
They could have tested the recently purchased camper for blood, they could’ve tested Bordelon’s home for blood, Lisa’s home for blood, they could’ve searched his house for a murder weapon, but they didn’t.
Ray’s death isn’t the first that Andrew Bordelon has been tied to, though.
Bordelon is actually very well known by authorities across central Louisiana and has been since he was young.
When he was 18, Bordelon and some friends attempted to open up a coke machine in an attempt to retrieve money. None of the three men were indicted on the charges.
Several months later in January of 1986, Bordelon broke into a service station with a man named David Bernard and they stole over $600 worth of tires. Bordelon actually pleaded guilty to “simple burglary” and was sentenced to 18 months but this sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation for 18 months instead.
Interestingly though, just 10 days after he and his friend, Bernard, broke into the service station, Bordelon kicked Bernard and was later charged with and pled guilty to “simple battery.” He was fined $100 plus a victim’s reparation fee of a whopping $7.50.
In the fall of that year, he was arrested for resisting an officer and disturbing the peace. The latter charge was dropped as part of his guilty plea to “resisting an officer” where he was fined $150 plus court costs but the fine costs were suspended and he was placed on unsupervised probation.
Bordelon would rack up three more battery charges in the next 20 months, all without true punishment.
I mean, for one of his battery charges that coincided with a DWI, he was released from jail on conditions that he’d maintain employment.
In June of 1988, Bordelon broke into a mobile home and returned two days later with his trusty friend Bernard where they set the home on fire.
Bernard received two years for the arson charge while Bordelon actually received 12 years but this was to be served concurrently with a sentence he received from a totally different crime!
In October of 1989, Bordelon, along with a man named Leverne Lemoine, beat and robbed an elderly man as he went for a walk around his neighborhood. The pair beat the man with a pistol and robbed him of the jewelry he was wearing.
Bordelon was initially charged with armed robbery to which he pleaded “not guilty” but withdrew that plea, instead pleading “guilty” to “simple robbery” to which he received seven years to be served concurrently with the one I mentioned before.
In case you’re unfamiliar, concurrent means at the same time so if he had to serve these sentences consecutively, he’d have to serve 31 years instead of 12. So Bordelon received 12 years for breaking into a home, setting it on fire, beating a man with a weapon, and robbing him of his possessions.
I will come back to the sentence Lemoine received after I tell you about one more crime the two committed just one month after they attacked the elderly man.
In November of 1989, it is believed that Bordelon, Lemoine, and Lemoine’s wife, DeWanda, had broken into the home of Narcisse Dauzat. Narcisse’s body was found in a back bedroom. He had sustained two shots to his back before his home was set on fire.
The three would remain free until January of 1991 when they were all arrested on first-degree murder charges. According to an article by The Town Talk, “the arrests came after an extensive investigation and more charges are expected to be filed as the investigation continues.”
Bordelon’s girlfriend was considered the “star witness” and was supposed to testify against her boyfriend but right before his trial was set to start she recanted her statement. The assistant DA offered her full immunity because the prosecution was relying so heavily on her testimony. But even after receiving immunity she still refused to cooperate and spoke only to invoke her 5th amendment right.
The prosecution still had enough evidence to convict DeWanda, and they did.
Because she was seen as a “principal” to the crime, DeWanda Lemoine was found guilty of manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
She was the only one to serve time for the death of Narcisse Dauzat, and if you ask me, I honestly don’t think she was involved in his murder.
Due to the lack of evidence, the first-degree murder charges for both Bordelon and Lemoine were dropped.
Since 1992, authorities in Avoyelles Parish have been waiting for new evidence to pop up or for someone to come forward.
DeWanda Lachney Lemoine, yes - I said Lachney, was actually a cousin of Ray’s. She also refused to testify against Bordelon and her husband, Leverne. She passed away in 2010, leaving the responsibility up to Bordelon’s ex-girlfriend, but if she never comes forward to testify, I don’t think Mr. Dauzat will ever get justice.
So how did Bordelon get away with so many assaults and arsons and possibly even murder? Well his brother, Lawrence, served on the Marksville Police Department as an officer and later as a detective.
I’m not sure what his position was at the time of the trial, but I do know that he had already been with the city for about 12 years at this point.
His brother, who went by “Jojo,” began serving as an officer in 1980. If you remember back to the beginning of Bordelon’s crimes, those began in 1985 - so his brother had already been with the force for 5 years which might be why Bordelon never received an actual sentence.
Within the seven years from the time his crimes began in ‘85, he racked up 1 property damage charge, a theft charge, 4 simple battery charges, an arson charge, 2 robbery/burglary charges, and had first-degree murder charges dropped due to insufficient evidence!
Remember earlier when I said I would come back to the sentence that Lemoine received for the attack on the elderly man that was walking in his neighborhood?
According to The Greater Avoyelles Journal, Judge Johnson declared Lemoine as a “habitual offender” due to 4 previous felony convictions in addition to several other crimes.
During sentencing Judge Johnson said, “You have led a life that is totally lawless. You’ve spent your entire life from a young person to this date preying off of innocent people. You have made your living by stealing from people who are hard-working and honest.”
And to that he gave him 50 years.
Just a reminder - this is the same crime that Bordelon received seven years for.
The thing that saved Bordelon, though, was the fact that his record was made-up of only misdemeanor charges, preventing him from also being declared as a habitual-offender and receiving 50 years in prison.
I feel that had he received 50 years just as Lemoine did, I - again - probably wouldn’t be telling you Ray’s story today.
It’s been almost six years since Ray was killed, but no one has been held responsible for it.
When Lisa Rabalais was initially arrested in 2018 for “accessory after the fact,” Ray’s death still wasn’t considered a murder. And I’m not sure if it ever has been.
The Louisiana law regarding “accessories after the fact” says “An accessory after the fact is any person who, after the commission of a felony, shall harbor, conceal, or aid the offender, knowing or having reasonable ground to believe that he has committed the felony, and with the intent that he may avoid or escape from arrest, trial, conviction, or punishment. An accessory after the fact may be tried and punished, notwithstanding the fact that the principal felon may not have been arrested, tried, convicted, or amenable to justice.” https://law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2006/146/78384.html
The DA - Charles Riddle - was interviewed by KALB and asked about Rabalais’ arrest and what led to it. He says, “there’s some evidence that drugs were given. Our efforts are to try to prove who gave the drugs and what they were and whether it led to a cause of death.”
With this statement, is he hinting that Ray might have overdosed? And that someone gave him these drugs and they accidentally, or possibly intentionally, killed him?
If so, how would Rabalais be an accessory to that? How would they have enough to charge her as an accessory but not enough to charge the person that committed the felony?
I wouldn’t normally give my opinion on what I think happened, especially in a case that hasn’t convicted anyone or proven that anyone is guilty, but I 100% believe that drugs were not involved in the death of Ray Lachney and I’ll tell you why.
Think back to what I told you about what was found alongside his body… his debit card.
The three stopped to get gas and a few other things at a gas station while they were still in Zachary. Ray used his card to purchase their things before heading back home. They also were said to have stopped at a few other places on their way home as well.
If and when the truth about this case comes out, I believe that the placement of the debit card will say a lot about the timing of Ray’s death. Whether it be that he hadn’t had time to put his card back into his wallet before he was killed or he had just been somewhere where he only needed his card and he had temporarily stuck it into his pocket.
It was also speculated at one point that Ray took his own life.
Although we never truly know what people struggle with day-to-day, his mom and I both do not think Ray killed himself.
After he returned home from the marines, Ray was kinda struggling with finding himself and he began engaging in behaviors that turned him into someone he knew he wasn’t. Shortly before he disappeared, Ray had led a prison ministry group, which was something his mom said he had always wanted to do. He was finally on the right track and he was slowly picking himself back up.
I also feel like if he had taken his life, there would’ve been clear evidence of it at the scene. Whether by gunshot, drug-use, hanging, whatever he used would’ve probably still been at the scene.
Ray’s family put all of their money into their searches for him and because of that, his body had to be cremated once the autopsy was complete because they didn’t have enough money to cover the costs of a casket burial in the time they were given.
Because of that, there’s no way to go back and examine his body in the future or collect other evidence from his remains.
My frustration and anger in this case is equally shared between the person (or people) that murdered Ray and the people that were supposed to be there to protect him.
It was clear from the beginning that authorities had zero interest in helping Ray’s family bring him home.
And, from the outside, it seems like they’re doing more to protect the guilty than the dead.
It is never too late to come forward with information about Ray’s death. Please call the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office at (318) 253-4000 or if you’d like to remain anonymous, please call the Cenla Crime Stoppers line at (318) 443-7867.