Journey for Florida woman, 21, ends in Louisiana bayou tragedy

Lindsay Louise Ellixson had grown accustomed to life away from home, but the 21-year-old kept regular contact with her family in Florida even after making her way to the Baton Rouge area. She was talking about returning home to Orlando when she disappeared earlier this month.

“I hadn’t heard from her in 10 days, so I was very concerned that something had happened,” said Catherine C. Ellixson, the woman’s mother, on Tuesday. “Even though Lindsay had gone and done her own thing, she always kept very much in touch with us wherever she was.”

The family learned late Monday that their concerns had become an unthinkable reality. Authorities pulled Lindsay Ellixson’s body from a bayou in East Baton Rouge Parish on Saturday, and an autopsy revealed she was killed by blunt-force injuries to the head, neck and chest.

Dr. Beau Clark, the parish coroner, ruled the death a homicide Monday, and detectives returned to the quiet waterway along South Tiger Bend Road the same day in search of evidence.

The slaying came as a shock to friends Ellixson made during her time in Louisiana.

In interviews, they described her as a smart and caring woman who enjoyed going out with friends.

“I just can’t imagine anything she could have possibly done or said” to provoke an attack, said Clinton Allen Head, 31, of Denham Springs, who said he dated Ellixson for nearly two years. “She was 5 foot 1, 120 pounds and very nonconfrontational.”

Head said he was interviewed by detectives seeking to piece together Ellixson’s past associations. He expressed confidence they would crack the case.

In her final days, Ellixson posted a series of increasingly desperate messages to the social networking site MeetMe in which she solicited shelter from people in the area.

Her last posting, some two weeks ago, read, “GIVING UP FOR NOW,” and drew an offer of help from a young man.

In another, she warned of becoming homeless and said she was tired of her life. “im never gonna be good enough for anyone,” one post reads.

“It made me feel bad because I had seen some posts where she was looking for a place to stay,” said Taylor Lee Law, a Facebook friend of Ellixson’s who knew her when she was in the Watson area. “I wish I would have had a place to stay with me and maybe something like this wouldn’t have happened.”

Boaters discovered Ellixson’s body after 3 p.m. Saturday in a bayou north of Hoo Shoo Too Road and west of the Amite River. Clark has estimated Ellixson’s body — which was identified through fingerprint analysis — was in the water for a week or less.

Ellixson’s mother said she last heard from her Nov. 3.

“I think she was just kind of trying to explore the world,” she said of her daughter’s time in Louisiana. “She had been home intermittently, but she was kind of doing her own thing.”

According to her Facebook page, Ellixson graduated in 2011 from Boone High School in Orlando, where she was a member of the swim team. Head said he met Ellixson shortly after she moved to Louisiana with a boyfriend.

“We loved each other but never technically got engaged,” he said.

Head described Ellixson as an “awesome person” who eschewed alcohol and tobacco because of open heart surgery she had as a little girl.

“She had the prettiest blue eyes you could ever see,” he added, “and the best personality you could ever want.”

Ellixson frequented online dating websites such as Plenty of Fish, said Heather Smith, a Denham Springs woman who said she was friends with Ellixson for more than a year.

Ellixson had been “beaten up by a couple of different men that she’s dated,” Smith said, adding Ellixson never told her any names.

Ellixson did not hold a steady job, but baby-sat for people, Smith said.

“She liked to go out,” Smith added. “She loved to dance, she loved to do all of that, the whole club scene she enjoyed.”

Court records show Ellixson had a pending possession of marijuana charge stemming from a March arrest in Livingston Parish.

“She just had a lot of struggles that she needed to overcome,” said Ellixson’s mother, who adopted the girl when she was 6. “She just was out trying to do life on her own.”

“She had a very sweet heart,” she added. “I know she’s in heaven.”

Sheriff’s officials have asked anyone with information about the case to call the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 389-5000.

Staff writers Ryan Broussard and Robert Stewart contributed to this report