According to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, the 1984 “Man in the Well” cold case murder was reopened and investigators have issued an arrest warrant for 58-year-old Patricia Tito, who is currently serving a sentence at the Louisiana Department of Corrections for a 2003 homicide in Shreveport.
Officials said Tito helped to identify another person of interest in connection with the murder of Lester Rome, the man police found in the well in Many, Louisiana, nearly 40 years ago.
Tito claimed Delwin Avard Sibley, 76, was possibly involved in the murder or the disposal of Rome’s body in the well, according to authorities.
Officials said Sibley is being asked to come forward.
In January 1984, Rome was reported missing to the Grand Isle Police Department.
The following month, investigators from JPSO became involved in the case and discovered Tito was living in Rome’s house and was running his business, officials said.
At the time, Tito claimed Rome had gone on a trip and the missing persons case was suspended and the case turned cold.
In April 1986, human remains were found in a water well in Many, and the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Office opened a homicide investigation.
Authorities said the victim remained unidentified for 35 years and became known in the area as “The Man in the Well.”
In 2021, the Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office identified “The Man in the Well” as Rome and determined he was killed by blunt force trauma and possible stab wounds, officials said.
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Investigators from SPSO and JPSO said they worked together to learn from Tito that Rome was killed in Grand Isle and his remains were dumped in Sabine Parish.
In the spring of 2022, JPSO spoke with Tito, who said she witnessed the murder, but alleged it was Sibley who killed Rome, according to officials. She said Sibley eventually left the Grand Isle area with Rome’s remains.
As the investigation continued, detectives learned that the well where Rome’s remains were found was on a property formerly owned by Sibley’s family, according to authorities.
An arrest warrant was issued for Tito for second-degree murder in Rome’s death. While her involvement remains unclear, officials said she has knowledge of Rome’s death and failed to notify police or a member of his family between 1984 and 2021.
Anyone with information regarding the initial disappearance and murder of Lester Rome, the whereabouts in 1984 of Sibley or Tito, or any other information that may help is asked to call Captain Dennis Thornton at 504-364-5300 or contact Crimestoppers.
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