More than 40 years after his wife was shot dead in the Louisiana Fried Chicken restaurant they jointly owned and operated, a 78-year-old man is released on $ 50,000 bail after being charged with her murder.
Diane Ledet Vegas turned 32 on October 10, 1977, the day she was killed in the Chicken House restaurant in Golden Meadow, Louisiana.
Diane died from a single gunshot wound to the back.
Investigators arrived at the scene and found that the restaurant’s files had been searched. However, the police could not determine whether any money was stolen.
Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office, Chester Vegas, Sr., who now lives in Cut Off, Louisiana, was long a suspect of his wife’s murder but was never arrested, according to a statement.
The case eventually cooled, the statement explained.
But things started to heat up last October when “a detective reopened the case and received new information that led to a likely reason for the Chester Vegas arrest”.
The statement does not provide details of the new evidence, but The Houma Courier, citing sources close to the investigation, reports that an alibi witness recently withdrew his testimony.
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“We hope this arrest can bring the Las Vegas family, who have faced questions about Diane’s death for nearly 44 years, to a close,” Sheriff Craig Webre said in a statement.
“The new information combined with the initial investigation helped us determine a likely reason for the arrest,” he added.
Upon receiving the new information, police obtained an arrest warrant on Friday June 11th and arrested Chester the same day.
He posted bail shortly after and was released, according to a police statement.
The police statement made no mention of a possible motive for the murder, and Vegas did not respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“Essentially, there are relatives of the victim who have been vigilant over the years to keep up with the case and (they) got the detectives to come back, look at it and reanalyze the evidence,” said Webre across from The Daily Comet, in Thibodaux, Louisiana. “Then they realized that the case was pointing strongly in one direction, and that direction was the husband.”
It was unclear whether Vegas had pleaded guilty to the charges of second degree murder. PEOPLE failed to identify the Las Vegas defender on Friday.
Local KIRO7 reports that Vegas is due to appear in court for the first time next month, potentially facing life imprisonment without parole.