Nearly a decade later, detectives are still searching for suspect
A car sped away from the end of Vans Lane in New Sarpy on May 25, 2005, leaving the body of a murdered 16-year-old boy in its wake.
The person who killed the boy and dumped the body is still a mystery to this day.
A neighbor who was running a bath in her trailer at the time heard the car accelerate, but did not think anything of it until the next morning when local children riding their bikes came across the bullet-riddled body of Quinten Webb.
Officials with St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office believe that Webb, whose family was originally from New Orleans, had been picked up in front of his LaPlace home on the night of his death only moments before being executed. His body was then driven to the gravel cul-de-sac where he was found hours later.
Despite evidence that included eyewitness accounts of the murderer’s vehicle, the crime has proven difficult to solve.The murder was the first one handled by Capt. Joe Ganote, assistant chief of criminal investigations and SWAT team commander for the Sheriff’s Office, who at the time had just been transferred to the detectives’ unit from narcotics. Ganote said the case is still in the back of his mind, nagging him.
“It’s overwhelming as a first homicide,” he said.
Webb had been reported missing to the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office around 1 a.m. the day his body was discovered. At the time, the events preceding his disappearance were not yet known.
Ganote began the investigation by going into Webb’s neighborhood where he made a startling discovery. One set of witnesses, children living in the area, had seen a silver sedan pull up in front of Webb’s home and heard an unknown person tell Webb to get into the vehicle. Another group of witnesses heard gunshots ring out as the car drove down the street. Because different witnesses saw or heard different parts of the crime, it was not until Ganote connected the two events that he began to understand what transpired.
“Witnesses say he gets into the car, some say he was kind of forced into the car, not physically but a kind of a ‘get in the car!’ type deal,” Ganote said. “He gets into the vehicle and as the car drives away I have separate witnesses that all say they heard gunshots in the car.”
Within minutes of getting in the car, Ganote believes that Webb was shot to death and the murderer was on his way to New Sarpy to dump his body.
“There is no doubt in my mind he was shot in that car. He was not shot on that scene (in New Sarpy). There was no casing, there was no blood, the blood on him was dried up and his shirt was kind of pulled up like he was drug out of the car, like he was not alive and he was drug out of the car,” he said. “The way he was positioned I believe the car went around the turn in the gravel. He was pulled out of the car and he was kind of drug away from it so they didn’t run over him when they drove away and that is basically where he laid.”
Given the amount of time between the abduction and when Webb’s body was discovered, along with the fact that none of the witnesses knew the car or the driver who had picked Webb up, detectives found it difficult to track down a suspect.
Ganote began by interviewing everyone with even the slightest connection to Webb. However, the investigation was hindered when it became clear that Webb dealt marijuana to random people who would pull up in front of his home.
“Everybody I talked to said that he would deal drugs right out in front of his house, which makes it more difficult because that makes him have contact with a lot of people,” he said.
Given the circumstances surrounding the crime, Ganote said he is sure that Webb knew his murderer.
“I think it was somebody he owed money or some drugs to or something. It wasn’t somebody he was directly just beefing with, because who would get in a car if you thought there was any chance you would be murdered,” he said. “I think he felt comfortable enough that he thought he could talk his way out of it.”
With little to go on in the way of finding the suspect, Ganote said the investigation immediately hinged on one thing – locating the vehicle.
“Every lead we ran it down as best we could. We processed every possible scene, every possible car. So we got with Jefferson and Orleans parishes because people like to dump their cars and burn them out in New Orleans,” he said. “We never found anything.”
Despite working the case 16 hours a day for weeks on end, Ganote and other investigators were not able to come up with much information.
“I was in St. John for about three straight months on this case,” he said. “It is one of those cases where every lead you got just turned out to be a dead end.”
Then a major setback struck in the form of Hurricane Katrina, which decimated the region. After the storm left the area in disarray and recovery began, Ganote attempted to reach out to the Webb family, but they were gone.
“I went back to the house after Katrina and no one lived there anymore. I couldn’t find them, I couldn’t locate them and nobody had any more information. That is the real unfortunate part,” he said.
The biggest loss was contact with Webb’s half-brother, Glen Webb, who Ganote thinks had knowledge of who the perpetrator may have been.
“I believe his brother knows exactly who it could be, because he told me in an interview that he was going to deal with it. I tried to get his mother to talk to him, but being from New Orleans and that hard lifestyle they tend to deal with it on their own. I never got that information from him,” he said.
Ganote said witnesses in the neighborhood at the time of Webb’s abduction also might have known more than they were willing to tell law enforcement officers for fear of retaliation by Webb’s murderer.
“It is hard for me to believe that there in not someone who lived on that street that doesn’t know who that car belonged to and who he got in the car with. I am really hoping those who were kids at the time and are now adults can come forward,” he said.
Those who may have information on the death of Quinten Webb should contact Ganote at (985) 783-1135 or contact Crimestoppers at (877) 903-STOP. If you call Crimestoppers, you could receive up to $2,500 for information leading to a successful conviction.