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#3471: Disappearance stalls murder case (fwd)


Published Sunday, April 30, 2000, in the Miami Herald 
 Disappearance stalls murder case
 Husband sought for questioning in 1996 slayings BY JUDY ODIERNA 

 Archie Accius is angry. It has been four years since his sister Wilda
Pierre and her two children were found buried in a cinder-block crypt in
the garage of their North Miami home. Four years since prime suspect
Esnel Jean, Pierre's husband, disappeared -- perhaps to return to Haiti.
 Four years, and no progress on the case. ``I haven't heard anything,''
Accius said. ``I don't know why it has taken so long to find a killer
when he's right across the water. It's just ridiculous.'' Authorities
aren't sure of Jean's whereabouts. The FBI turned to the America's
 Most Wanted  television program for help in locating him. The show
aired a segment on the case, showing Jean's picture, in February.
 ``We don't do a lot of older cases,'' said Cindy Smith, a producer with
the show. ``But due to the brutal nature of the crime, we wanted to do
it. Plus, the cops have really worked this one hard.''

 On March 29, 1996, police found the bodies of Pierre and her two
children, Evans, 17, and Melinda, 4, buried in a crude, waist-high,
cinder-block crypt. The children were Pierre's from previous marriages.
 Also in the garage were candles, religious figurines, posters of
Catholic saints and a live pigeon -- elements suggesting that Jean was
practicing Haitian Vodou, a mixture of Christianity and traditional
African religions. Autopsy reports say the victims died from multiple
types of trauma. No other details have been released. However, the scene
was so ghastly that veteran homicide detectives were said to
 be repulsed. Jean, 42, is five feet four inches tall and weighs about
150 pounds. He has black hair and black eyes. He was a former
construction worker, and was last seen driving a Toyota Camry in North
Miami several days before the killings. He has not been charged, and is
wanted only for questioning.
 America's Most Wanted  received 22 tips the night the broadcast aired
on Pierre's case, but so far, producers say, nothing has led to Jean. 
 ``To be perfectly honest, there hasn't been anything with any
substance,'' said North Miami homicide Detective Tony Ojeda, the lead
investigator on the case. ``We got all our best leads the first week it
happened.'' North Miami police believe Jean is in Haiti, although Don
Ungurait, spokesman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, says
that has not been confirmed. Without knowing whether Jean is in Haiti,
extradition is impossible, he said. ``The issue isn't an extradition
agreement,'' said Ungurait. ``There's a warrant in the system. If he's
ever found, the extradition arrangements will be started, but his
 whereabouts are still unknown.'' Accius says he just wants justice for
his slain sister. ``He shouldn't be walking around with my sister's
blood on his hands,'' he said. ``When something like that happens and
they let him get away with it, how many others think they can do the
same thing?'
 Investigators ask anyone with information about the case to call the
North Miami Police Department at 305-891-0294, ext. 3100.