Cold case investigation leads to arrest of Baton Rouge man, Tickfaw woman

David Morris, 39, of Baton Rouge
David Morris, 39, of Baton Rouge

Tangipahoa Parish sheriff’s deputies working a cold-case homicide investigation arrested two people accused in the 2003 slaying of a 44-year-old Amite woman.

Karen Birch, 33, of Tickfaw, and David Morris, 39, of Baton Rouge, were booked into the Tangipahoa Parish Jail on Wednesday on counts of second-degree murder, Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto said Thursday in a news release.

Birch and Morris are accused in the death of Debbie Ann Lindsey.

Tangipahoa deputies took Birch into custody, while East Baton Rouge Parish sheriff’s deputies arrested Morris in Baton Rouge, Panepinto said.

The Sheriff’s Office announced July 29 it would begin re-investigating Lindsey’s case, along with that of Timothy Brown, 30, of Ponchatoula, who was found shot to death in December 2006.

Brown’s case is still active, Panepinto said.

The Sheriff’s Office has said the cold cases were reopened because new evidence has come to light.

Lindsey’s body was found March 13, 2003, in a wooded area near her home. An autopsy of her decomposed body verified she had been stabbed multiple times.

Birch and Morris, who were friends of Lindsey, have always been persons of interest in this case, Panepinto said.

After detectives re-interviewed friends and relatives, several new witnesses came forward and connected Birch and Morris to Lindsey’s death, Panepinto said.

The investigation is ongoing and additional information will be released as it becomes available, Panepinto said.

Flo Foy, Lindsey’s mother, said Thursday that detectives told her Monday they were closing in on Birch and Morris.

“I’m glad they got them,” Foy said. “Now my daughter can rest in peace, and my husband can, too.”

Lindsey’s live-in boyfriend called her parents on Valentine’s Day in 2003 to say Lindsey had been missing for a couple of days, Foy has said.

The boyfriend said he filled out a missing person report with authorities, “but he never did,” Foy has said. Foy and her husband called the Sheriff’s Office a few days later.

Detectives found Lindsey’s body about a month later.

Foy has said detectives contacted her at least two months ago, possibly even earlier, about the reopening of the case.

“I’m just glad they finally got them in there (in jail),” Foy said Thursday. “I hope they keep them in there.”

In the other cold case, Brown, 30, was shot in the early hours of Dec. 29, 2006, while trying to break up a fight in the parking lot of Pea’s Lounge in Ponchatoula, the Sheriff’s Office has said.

During the fight, two unknown men began firing shots into the crowd — one man from a white Caprice with custom “Helo” rims, and the other from a burgundy Suburban or Yukon.

Deputies found Brown behind his vehicle with a fatal gunshot wound on the right side of his body.

Anyone with information about Brown’s death is asked to contact Tangipahoa Parish Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-554-5245. Fruitful tips will generate a reward of up to $1,000.