The case of Louise Raney Keko (Aug 18, 1938 – Aug 4, 1991) is still unsolved. For obvious reasons, she is the case of the Month for August.
The book left me unsettled for reasons noted in the review. Since I read it, I tried to find more information about the unsolved cases that were the result of the exonerations.
One of those is the 1991 murder of Louise Raney Keko. If you have this book, turn to page 126. I quote “the couple owned extremely profitable oyster beds, which had become a point of contention in the divorce.”
What do we know?
On August 4, 1991, Louise Raney Keko (52) was found shot, beaten, stabbed, and half-submerged in her bathtub in Buras, County of Plaquemines, Louisiana. She appeared to have been pistol-whipped before being shot and aside from being half-submerged in a bathtub, she was covered with a blanket. Louise lies buried at the Bethany Cemetery, Slate Spring, Calhoun County, Mississippi, USA.
Her estranged husband, Anthony G. Keko, was arrested on October 26, 1992 and charged with capital murder. The trial started in September 1993. Keko was exonerated in 1998. Why? Bitemarks combined with false or misleading forensic evidence, perjury or false accusations, and official misconduct.
“Although police developed several possible suspects, the primary target of their investigation was Keko’s 62-year-old husband, Anthony, whom she had sued for divorce two weeks before she was killed. Anthony had begun dating a good friend of Louise prior to the murder.”
According to newspaper articles, both partners had a temper. Anthony is a former Marine. He has convictions for several misdemeanors. Some of those are about confronting colleagues in the oyster business. He also has been acquitted for the manslaughter of a man Keko had accused of insulting Louise.
Louise’s murder was unsolved for more than a year when a new Plaquemines Parish Sheriff was elected. He contacted Michael West. The rest should be obvious.
West had Louise Keko’s body exhumed more than one year after her death and burial. Then, he found a bitemark on her shoulder. West had it removed for safekeeping however, later it was destroyed. It was accidentally placed in embalming fluids.
The defense justifiably argued that there was no conclusive evidence that the mark was a bitemark and that the bitemark belonged to Anthony Keko to the exclusion of others. The jury took about 4 hours to convict Anthony Keko.
In the ABA Journal of February 1996, I found this: Plaquemines Parish Assistant District Attorney Charles Balley then served as prosecutor. He thought too much attention was paid to West’s testimony. “There was a lot of other evidence that pointed to Keko being the murderer.” That evidence alone though didn’t put him at the crime scene so maybe that’s why the jury valued West’s testimony so much.
I think that Balley had a lot of circumstantial evidence such as complaints from Keko about his wife, that a divorce would be costly, and possibly a claim that he’d kill. But did he? After the exoneration, Keko filed a wrongful conviction lawsuit against West. This lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount.
We now know that West was wrong, Keko was exonerated so, who killed Louise?
No physical evidence linked Anthony Keko to Louise’s murder. Police did find a gun in Keko’s trailer and did determine it had been used to pistol-whip her. But was it used to kill her as well? And, did Anthony confess he indeed beat Louise that day?
Is there a possibility that Anthony argued with Louise the day that she was murdered, they fought, he beat her with the pistol, but maybe then he left? Is it possible someone else then came into the house and murdered Louise? Or, was she murdered elsewhere?
Was the blanket just draped over her? Were there any signs that she could have been rolled into it and/or transported with that blanket? If so, we might be looking for another crime scene.
Maybe after arguing and (possibly) being beaten by Anthony, Louise could have left the house, sought help from someone, then met her killer, who placed her in the blanket, brought her back to the house, and placed her in the bathroom. Is that possible?
In the book, it says that no biological materials from Anthony were found at the scene but was anything found at all? If Louise was murdered elsewhere, then taken back in that blanket, and placed in her bathtub, that would explain the lack of biological evidence. So, was nothing at all found in that bathroom? If that blanket was preserved, authorities should use the M-Vac.
Who killed Louise?
If you do an internet search a lot about the Keko case pops up however, none explains the death of Louise. Everything is about exonerating Anthony and hardly anything is about solving Louise’s murder.
I grabbed Balko/Carrington’s book again. “There were other reasons to suspect someone other than Keko. The crime scene showed signs of a fight and a vicious struggle. When Keko was arrested, he had no injuries – no scratches, scrapes, or bruises. The police were unable to find any of his hair, blood, or skin or any other biological material at the crime scene.”
One of the detectives who worked on Louise’s murder would later state that there were thirteen suspects, but the police only told West about Keko for bitemark comparisons. So, regardless of what we now think of bitemark analyses, the only mold that West ever made was Keko’s. Why exclude the other thirteen?
So far, I have not been able to find a picture of Louise Raney Keko. As soon as I have more material, I will update this post and of course, the database.
Rest in peace, Louise Raney Keko.
In the series “Case of the Month” I highlight old cold cases. These posts are not an in-depth analysis and of course, more information can be found online and in newspaper archives.
We need to get these cases back in the mainstream media, to get people talking again, and if anything, to make sure that we do not forget the victims. Just because their cases are unsolved does not mean that we can forget about them.
I encourage you to share this post on your own social media platforms. By sharing these posts, the cases reach new networks, new connections, and new news feeds. Maybe one day these updates will pop up in the right person’s news feed. This may be someone who can actually help advance the case and that is my goal.