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Louisiana DOI Fraud Investigators Killed in Murder-Suicide

Calling it the "darkest day in the history of the Department of Insurance," Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon confirmed that two Louisiana Department of Insurance...
June 14, 2011

Calling it the "darkest day in the history of the Department of Insurance," Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon confirmed that two Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) Fraud Section investigators were shot and killed while attempting to collect case information from an insurance agent during the course of an investigation.

Police say Rhett Jeansonne, 39, and Kim Sledge, 44, were shot and killed by insurance agent John Melvin Lavergne, who police say then killed himself. Donelon says, contrary to some reports, Jeansonne and Sledge did not visit John Melvin Lavergne's agency in Ville Platte to serve him with a suspension. They were there to "request from his office and retrieve files related to additional cases" from a January cease and desist order, which was pending appeal, Donelon said.

"We are seriously considering arming our investigators," a visibly shaken Donelon said during a news conference in Baton Rouge to discuss the deaths. Donelon asked Gov. Bobby Jindal to have flags at state offices flown at half-staff in memory of the two slain investigators and spoke haltingly of having to tell their spouses what had happened.

During the press conference the commissioner became most visibly shaken when he talked about the victims' families, especially about meeting the 7-year-old daughter of Jeansonne, who also leaves behind a wife and three sons. Sledge was married and had a daughter and two stepchildren, Donelon says. The commissioner said he made a promise to Mr. Sledge that "this will never happen again."

Read more on the La. insurance investigator shooting: Louisiana Commissioner: "This Will Never Happen Again" (National Underwriter 6/9/11)

Read more on the La. insurance investigator deaths: Family, Friends Recall Lives of Slain Investigators (Lafayette LA Daily Advertiser 6/8/11)