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Two Charged In Long-Unsolved 'Man In The Well' Case
Patricia Tito, who is already imprisoned for killing a romantic rival, and Delvin Sibley are accused of killing Lester Rome, whose body was discovered in a Louisiana well 37 years ago.
A woman doing time for murdering a romantic rival has now been charged in the death of a Louisiana man whose remains were discovered at the bottom of a well 37 years ago.
An arrest warrant has been issued for Patricia Tito of Shreveport, 58, for second-degree murder in the death of Lester Rome, police announced Friday. Tito is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence for shooting a woman dead in 2003. Delvin Avard Sibley, 76, whose family property Rome's remains were found on, has also been charged, according to local ABC affiliate KTBS.
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Rome's family reported him missing to the Grand Isle Police Department, which sits on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico along the Louisiana coast, in January of 1984, according to a Facebook post by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, which took over the case about a month later.
Two years later, in April of 1986, the nearby Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office opened a murder investigation after human remains were pulled from a water well in Many, Louisiana. For years, the John Doe was known only as "The Man in the Well." But decades later, in 2021, those remains were identified as Rome's, according to Law & Crime.
An autopsy determined that Rome died of blunt force trauma and "possible stab wounds," according to KTSB.
A month after Rome's disappearance, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office interviewed Tito, a woman who was living in Rome's residence and claimed that she operated his business. At the time, deputies wrote in their post, she told them that he had gone away on a trip.
In 2007, Tito pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for fatally shooting her perceived romantic rival, 59-year-old Judie Winn, in 2003, according to KTBS. Tito shot Winn, who was dating her former boyfriend, in the chest from outside the kitchen window of her home.
After the remains were identified as Rome's and Sabine Parish police reviewed his case, they decided they wanted to speak to Tito. In a jailhouse interview with detectives, Tito allegedly divulged that Rome was killed in Grand Isle and that his remains were dumped in Sabine Parish. However, she denied any involvement in his killing, police wrote.
In the spring of 2022, Tito led police to the location on Grand Isle, near Elmer's Island, where Rome was killed. Although she said she was present at the time of the murder, she allegedly told police that Sibley was solely responsible for Rome's death. After killing Rome, she said, Sibley left the Grand Isle area and took his victim's remains with him.
Sabine Sheriff Department Detective Chris Abrahams told KTBS that police secured an arrest warrant for Sibley about 10 months after the remains in the well were identified as the case was reopened. He was charged with second-degree murder, but bonded out of jail and returned to his home in Mississippi, the outlet reported.
Now, the department wrote in their Facebook post, "investigators are asking anyone with knowledge of Sibley's possible involvement in the homicide or later disposal of the victim's remains to come forward."
Sibley grew up in Sabine Parish, the outlet reported, and worked as a firefighter in Shreveport in his adult life.
Police are also looking for further evidence to tie Tito to the killing "despite her protestations of innocence."
"Tito obviously had knowledge of Mr. Rome’s death and failed to make any effort to notify law enforcement or a member of his family between 1984 and 2021,” the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office said in their statement on Facebook.