78-Year-Old Man Arrested 44 Years After Murder of His Wife

A Louisiana man has been arrested in connection to the murder of his wife, who was killed more than four decades ago.

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office announced last week that 78-year-old Chester Vegas Sr. was apprehended and charged with second-degree murder in the shooting that killed his wife Diane Vegas.

Deputies were called to the Chicken House in the town of Golden Meadow on October 10, 1977. When they arrived at the restaurant, they found the body of Diane Vegas with a single gunshot wound to the back. At the time of her death, she was 32 years old.

"We hope this arrest can begin to bring some closure to the Vegas family who have been living with questions about Diane's death for nearly 44 years," Sheriff Craig Webre said in a statement. "New information combined with the initial investigation helped us build probable cause for the arrest."

Authorities said Chester Vegas was considered a suspect until the initial investigation went cold. It wasn't until October of last year that detectives reopened the case and received new information that led to his arrest.

Detectives with the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office obtained the warrant and arrested Chester Vegas on June 11.

The 78-year-old was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux, Louisiana, on one count of second-degree murder. He has since been released after posting a $50,000 bail.

Newsweek reached out to the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office for additional comment on its investigation and Vegas arrest but did not receive a response before publication.

Man Arrested 44 Years After Wife's Murder
The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office in in Thibodaux, Louisiana, announced last week that 78-year-old Chester Vegas Sr. was apprehended and charged with second degree murder in the shooting that killed his wife Diane Vegas. Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office.

The Lafourche Gazette covered Diane Vegas' death in 1977.

The area newspaper reported that authorities received a complaint at approximately 10:48 a.m. on October 10, 1977.

When officers responded to the scene, they reportedly found the phone off the hook in the kitchen were Diane Vegas was found. The cash register also appeared to have been rummaged through, but authorities at the time couldn't determine how much, if any, money had been taken.

The Gazette also reported that her body was "identified and found" by her husband, Chester, and that he was the owner of the restaurant.

"The investigating officers said that Chester Vegas, the owner of the Chicken House, located at 1908 North Bayou Drive, in Golden Meadow, La. was held in custody pending the completion of the initial investigation, but was later released," the newspaper wrote.

In April, authorities in Kenner, Louisiana, made an arrest in a decade-long cold case murder. The arrest in connection to the 2010 killings came after an inquiry from the television series Unsolved Mysteries.