Officers with at least three agencies have said they notified the the Baton Rouge, La., area’s Multi-Agency Homicide Task Force about Derrick Todd Lee or his crimes during the past 10 months before his arrest in connection with serial murders of five women, The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports.
A lab technician working late on Sunday was the first person to learn of a solid link between Lee and the killings. The technician had been asked to rush the processing of Lee’s DNA swab on Friday, after Zachary, La., police recognized the sketch of a man who beat and tried to rape a Breaux Bridge, La., woman, and whose tactics resembled those of the serial killer.
The sketch struck the Zachary police as closely resembling 34-year-old Lee, someone they had run into many times. Zachary police officials said they first gave Lee’s name to the task force last summer.
Lee’s DNA swab, taken May 5, “apparently sat on a shelf for three weeks,” Zachary Police Chief Joey Watson said. “Our DNA was not a priority.” On Friday, when Zachary investigators saw the sketch of the suspect in the Breaux Bridge attack, they called the State Police Crime Lab, where Lee’s DNA sample was being stored.
“We saw glaring comparisons with that photo and our suspect; we thought it sounded like Derrick Todd Lee,” Watson said. “So our officers called the crime lab and said, ‘Hey, we think that’s our guy. How long are you going to sit on this? Could you speed it up a bit?'”