‘Southside Rapist’ Featured on ‘Forensic Files’ After Terrorizing Lafayette Women in the ’80s & ’90s
23 years ago this week, a man known as the 'Southside Rapist' was arrested after terrorizing Lafayette for the better part of the '80s and '90s.
Ernest Randal "Randy" Comeaux was a Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office sergeant who worked in law enforcement for nearly 20 years when it was realized that he was the monster responsible for a string of rapes that kept the city on edge for an entire decade.
According to APB News, Comeaux was arrested after a 16-month investigation into rapes; the oldest case having been reported in 1986.
The arrest of Comeaux, who oversaw the juvenile bureau, concludes a 16-month investigation into the rapes, the oldest case having been reported in 1986 in South Lafayette Parish. He has also admitted to five others: four on Lafayette's south side from 1990 to 1995 and one in rural Acadia Parish in 1993.
Comeaux's position in law enforcement made it a lot easier for him to fly under the radar, but it's also what led to his ultimate downfall—as chronicled by an episode of 'Forensic Files' that originally aired to kick off Season 5 back in the year 2000.
The episode is titled "Badge of Deceit" and it covers the story of what happened right here in town as Lafayette women lived "in fear of a rapist who becomes so experienced he leaves no clues to his identity." I happened to see the episode playing randomly when a shot of the old bar Antlers flashed across the screen and got my attention.
I did some digging and was floored when I found out the details surrounding this story. My heart broke for the victims and I began to think about those who currently walk around our city having to have gone through this experience to this day.
The common factor in every case was that the person responsible carried himself like a cop. From the way he held the flashlight that he would use to blind his victims, to the fact that he even sometimes carried police items, both investigators and victims said the rapist "behaved like an officer."
Beyond the obvious fact that this would be nearly impossible for someone to get away with given the technology we are afforded today, I was probably most fascinated by the fact that in addition to the information that I mentioned about the 'Southside Rapist' behaving like a cop, investigators used a brand new forensic tool that was virtually unknown at the time in order to catch the man responsible for this heinous crimes.
Geographical profiling is a combination of computer technology and behavioral science—and just like they stated in the 'Forensic Files' episode, it was a very new and experimental tool back in the '90s, but it's what led police in Lafayette to narrow their focus down to one man.
Comeaux quickly confessed to multiple rapes, telling police how he chose his victims, broke into their homes, and sexually assaulted them at gunpoint. According to police, the victims Comeaux admitted to assaulting ranged in age from 21 to 55.
While police tried to get him to admit to "at least seven other rapes," the crimes that Comeaux confessed to were enough to put him behind bars for six life terms without the benefit of parole—three of which must be served consecutively.
A story from Love Behind Bars gives a fairly recent update on Comeaux who is allegedly serving his time in Wade Correctional Center in Homer, LA. While the blog post is only as credible as its author, it gives a very detailed look at where Comeaux stands today when it comes to his feelings about what he did to these innocent victims.
It's insanely heartbreaking to even think about something like this happening in our city of Lafayette, but we can only hope that it never happens again.