Mar 18, 2022 I Brent Swancer

A Mysterious Murder and a Psychic Detective

Sometimes cold cases become so baffling and frustrating that police are forced to pursue new and unconventional tactics. Throughout the years this has often involved them turning to various psychics and mediums in a last ditch effort to glean some sort of useful information, but it is only done sparingly and typically as a last resort. There doesn't seem to be a great amount of faith put into psychic powers when it comes to solving crimes, the use of them few and far between and even then only grudgingly. Yet sometimes a case comes along in which a psychic has truly seemed to provide miraculous revelations that have led to a baffling crime being solved. One of these must surely be a case in which a psychic made a bold prediction that not only solved a case, but led her to become the first ever psychic to ever take the witness stand in a trial.

In 1987, 27-year-old Andre Daigle was working as a carpenter in New Orleans, Louisiana, doing home renovations, along with his friend Joe Lapinto, and he was mostly described as outgoing, energetic, and instantly likeable, very popular among his peers. On June 9, Andre finished work and drove his pick-up truck down to an establishment called Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant in order to meet up with a friend by the name of Nick Shelley for dinner. After their meal, the two of them headed to a place called Mitchell's Lounge to shoot some pool, and it was here that Andre would meet a woman sitting at the bar who called herself Thelma. She was allegedly very friendly and flirtatious towards Andre, the two of them conversing on several occasions throughout the evening, and when Andre and Nick left, Thelma asked Andre if he could give her a ride home, as she said she had to check on a pregnant friend. Always willing to help people out, he agreed, and Nick had no idea as he watched the two drive off that it was to be his last time to see his friend alive.

The next day, Andre failed to show up for work, and when the evening came with still no sign of him his friends and family became worried. Police were notified, and at first they merely thought that he had gone off drunk and would be back, but he never did come back and an investigation began. However, the problem was that no one had seen him, no one knew who the mysterious “Thelma” was or whether that was even her real name, and there were no clues as to where he could have possibly gone. Flyers were distributed and a search was carried out, but these turned up nothing. At this point authorities did not consider it to be foul play, thinking he had just run off, but his family did not agree, doing much of the searching on their own. In the meantime, Andre’s sister, Elise Daigle McGinley, who lived across the country in California, was desperate for answers as to what had happened to her brother, and decided to try a more unconventional method.

Just two days before her brother’s disappearance, Elise had gone to have a psychic reading done by psychic Rosemarie Kerr, of Escondido, California. She had never really had any interest in psychics or the paranormal, and had done it mostly as just a fun lark, but with the disappearance of her brother she began to wonder if there was anything to it all. She approached Kerr, who claimed to be a clairvoyant, medium, psychometrist and psychic investigator and to have had eerily accurate psychic visions from the age of 4, and asked her if she would help locate her missing brother. Kerr accepted, making an appointment to see Elise and instructing her to bring with her a photo of her missing brother and a map of Louisiana. When Elise arrived at the scheduled appointment, she honestly did not really expect much to come of it, still skeptical if it would really work or not, but she was about to be very surprised.

Upon arriving, Kerr asked for the picture and without even looking at it put it on the table, closed her eyes, and began rubbing it. After concentrating for a moment, Kerr complained that she was developing a severe pain in her head, as if she was being struck with a blunt object over and over again, and she also heard a voice saying “My head is killing me,” along with an image of a black truck with a distinctive scratch on the side, which was exactly what Andre’s vehicle looked like. In the truck with him she envisioned someone with long blonde hair who had “some sort of power over him.” She then turned her attention to the map of Louisiana, a place she had never been to, and brushed her hand over it. Again there was a powerful headache, and she was hit by strong images of a swamp, a long, low bridge over water, a sandy beach, and the number seven. She did not know what any of this meant and told Elise of her vision. She continued methodically moving a finger over the map until it passed over the town of Slidell, 30 miles from New Orleans, whereupon Kerr felt as if a jolt of electricity had jumped up off of the paper into her hand. She then turned to Elise, jabbed her finger at the spot on the map, and exclaimed, “If you can find him there -- do it quick!” The family headed for Slidell immediately, and amazingly as they were driving along just before the five-mile bridge to Slidell, Andre’s truck passed by them going the other way. They turned around and began tailing it, sure that it was his truck due to that scratch on the side, and inside were two men none of them recognized. The people in the truck seemed to know they were being followed, and Andre’s brother Chris would say of the events that unfolded:

I pull alongside and there is Andre's truck, with these two guys driving it. So I fall back and yell to my sister in the other car. 'You get off and call Mom. Tell her to call the police: city, state, everyone. Tell them we are going east on the I-10.' My sister exits, and we keep on behind the truck. But then I can tell they realized they are being followed. They start trying to fake us out -- making like they're going to exit and then, at the last minute, swerving back onto the I-10. But I stay with them. Then, they turn off onto Highway 11, outside of Pearl River. Now we are following them down a dark, deserted highway surrounded by nothing but trees. And I'm thinking my sister is going to tell the police we are on the Interstate. But I'm also thinking we can't lose them. They are the only link we have to Andre.


So, we ride like this for a while. And then I see the road is coming to a dead end. And the truck pulls up at the dead end and turns around and the lights go off -- like they're waiting for us. About fifty yards from the dead end, there is a barroom. So I stop. And Nick runs in to call the police.  Just then, the truck's lights come back on and it starts inching towards us, going real slow. I tell Virginia to lie down on the floor boards. And Joey, who has a .38 with him, and I open the car doors and crouch behind them, using them as shields. When the truck gets up alongside us and they see us crouching like that, I don't know what they thought, maybe that we're cops or something, but they take off, hauling ass. We take off after them and, by some miracle, there on this deserted road we had just driven down maybe five minutes before, there is now a police car parked. We start yelling, all of us at once, but the cop can't follow what we're trying to say. So Virginia shows him the flyer with Andre's picture and the cop gives chase. We followed behind, all of us going around 100 miles an hour.

When police finally caught them, the two men were identified as Michael Phillips and Charles Gervais, both small time crooks who had done time for burglary. It was thought at first that this was a simple open and shut car theft, and the men were booked without the police really thinking about how odd it was that the psychic Kerr had seen a long bridge in her dream and that truck, as well as the town of Slidell, where the family would not have ever gone to in the first place, after which they had just happened to pass that vehicle upon arrival. Andre’s family were now aware that something very miraculous was happening and that there was more to it than a simple car theft, and they were right. After Phillips and Gervais were booked, they would then confess that they had been the ones who had killed Andre Daigle, and the next chapter of the weird story would unfold.

When questioned about the crime, it would turn out that they had decided to kill someone just to see if they had what it took to do such a thing, and as a test of nerves, as well as to steal a vehicle and enough money to buy some guns. They had then sent Thelma, who turned out to be a Thelma Horne and Phillips’ girlfriend, to lure someone back to their place in order to be murdered by them taking turns hitting him over the head with the hammer and strangling him with a vacuum cleaner cord and a coat hanger. Andre was chosen pretty much at random, and just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. His body was later found near a little strip of sandy beach in the Manchac swamp, just off the highway’s Exit 7, all details that Kerr had foreseen. The body had been stuffed in a sofa and the autopsy revealed signs of strangulation and 11 fractures of the skull caused by a claw hammer, which eerily would have connected to the pounding pain that Kerr had felt during her psychic vision. She had been so accurate, in fact, that she was summoned to the subsequent trial as a witness, the first time a psychic had ever given testimony on a case they helped solve. Even the police, who occasionally used psychics but were rather skeptical of them, would vouch for the accuracy of the psychic's visions, and one of the homicide detectives on the case would say:

It's the only incident I can think of where we have had any success using a psychic. I have not put a great deal of faith in psychics, but ... certainly we appeal to anybody in any medium that can help us solve a crime.

Phillips and Gervais would plead guilty to murder and be sentenced to life in prison without benefit of pardon, probation or parole. Oddly, after being imprisoned Gervais would fly off the deep end, claiming that the murder had actually been part of an initiation rite into a cult of Satan worshippers, and he would complain that he was not allowed to conduct satanic rituals in his jail cell. As for Kerr, she would go on to be quite the celebrity, appearing on the TV shows “Psychic Witness” and "Psychic Detective," as well as talk shows talking about her experience, as well has help out in other murder cases. She would also go on to claim that she was in contact with Andre’s spirit, and she would stay in touch with the Daigle family right up to her death in 2015. It is a very notable case among those involving psychics used to help solve crimes, incredible in the details this woman was able to conjure up and the first to use such testimony in a court of law. How can this be explained? Was this just pure, blind luck or something more? We may never know for sure.

Brent Swancer

Brent Swancer is an author and crypto expert living in Japan. Biology, nature, and cryptozoology still remain Brent Swancer’s first intellectual loves. He's written articles for MU and Daily Grail and has been a guest on Coast to Coast AM and Binnal of America.

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