The disappearance of a Simmesport woman has led to the indictment of five people authorities believe are involved. In the meantime, the mother of the woman is hoping for closure in the case and to find her daughter.
An Avoyelles Parish Grand Jury indicted all five on Thursday, November 14. The five had been originally charged in October.
The five are: Asa Bentley, age 24 of 656 Main Street, Simmesport; Chadwick McGhee, age 25 of 125 Joffrion Street, Simmesport; Tamika Williams, age 31 of 217 North Live Oak, Simmesport; Donnie Edwards, age 21 of 16592 Church Street, Lettsworth and Willie Price, Jr., age 22 of 5474 Cadillac Street, Baton Rouge. All five were charged with second degree kidnapping while two of the five (Bentley and McGhee) were charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. All five could be facing up to 40 years in prison.
According to Steve Martel of the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office (APSO), the investigation of the disappearance of Jessica Guillot, age 21 of Simmesport began in September. According to Martel, Guillot went missing on Saturday, September 7, but Simmesport Police were not notified by her mother of the disappearance until Wednesday, September 11.
Guillot’s mother, Laura Stelly of Simmeport, last saw her daughter on the evening of Friday, September 6 around 8:30 p.m. when the daughter left the home on foot. She fears her daughter has been killed.
Simmesport Police started the investigation. The APSO was called to assist two weeks after that, and the mother asked for help through local media and flyers.
On Wednesday, October 9, the APSO completely took over the investigation and the next day the five people were arrested for aggravated kidnapping and Bentley and McGhee were charged with aggravated assault with a firearm. The Grand Jury changed the aggravated kidnapping charge to second degree kidnapping.
“We have been following up on a whole lot of leads since we took over the investigation,” Martel said last Friday. “We have also been searching area waterways, and other places in the Avoyelles Parish area.”
Martel feels that Guillot’s disappearance may be drug related. He said the APSO is still following up on information obtained and they are waiting for more results to be returned from the crime lab.
Guillot has a three-year old son and a one-year old daughter. Stelly had been keeping the children before Guillot came up missing. Stelly told the Marksville Weekly News her daughter had been in trouble with law enforcement and involved in drug use in her teenage years but felt her daughter was trying to “turn the corner” in her life.
One of the five arrested is connected to the victim’s mother. Williams’ daughter and Stelly’s grandson are sister and brother. Stelly said she knows all five people under arrest because they were all staying in Simmesport.
“After Jessica went missing, we talked to Bentley (one of the men later charged),” Stelly said. “He indicated that there was an issue with Jessica on the night she disappeared but he said he didn’t know where she was.”
Martel said he could not give deatils of the charges concerning the case because of the ongoing investigation.
District Attorney Charles Riddle also said he could make no comment. But they did confirm all five were suspected of being involved with the missing woman.
All five are still being held in Avoyelles Detention Center #1. Bentley is under a $1,100,000 bond while McGhee and Edwards have bonds of $850,000 each. Williams and Price both have $500,000 bonds.
“I’m confident the police will solve this case, but I do feel she is deceased,” Stelly added.