'True Detective' not so truth, says Vermilion sheriff
Vermilion Parish and the town of Erath are getting national attention thanks to an HBO’s new police-drama “True Detective” and local law enforcement agents want to set the record straight. An occult-type killing of a young woman did not take place as the show depicts.
True Detective in an eight-episode police drama that stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who are both detectives trying to solve a 1995 murder in Vermilion Parish. The show debuted Sunday night on HBO and has drawn praise from critics.
The show is about a 1995 murder case being reopened in 2012 by a detective from the Louisiana State Police. The detective goes back and talks to Martin Hart (Harrelson) and Rust Cohle (McConaughey) who were detectives when the murder first occurred.
The murder happened on Jan. 3, 1995, when a prostitute named Dora Lange was murdered and her body was found in a sugarcane field outside of Erath. Her body was covered with body paint and a crown of branches and antlers were over her head.
Throughout the show, Erath is mentioned and even the Vermilion Parish Sheriff Department gets a plug because the crime took place in Vermilion Parish and in the show, the Vermilion Parish Sheriff Department called in the state police to help solve the case.
The sheriff cars shown in the opening scenes depict what they somewhat looked like in 1995. Also, the sheriff deputies wore brown uniforms.
Is True Detective about a real murder that happened in Vermilion Parish in 1995 or around that time?
The answer, according to Sheriff Mike Couvillon is “No.”
Couvillon is somewhat familiar with the True Detective because his wife, Sonya, watched it Sunday and made mention of the fact that it mentioned the Vermilion Parish Sheriff Department. He was with the Sheriff Department in 1995 but was head of narcotics back then.
He recalled two murders where women were found dead in a sugar-cane field in the parish and one happened around 2000. He said a person was charged in that murder. The other murder took place in 1979 near Erath.
“To my knowledge, no,” said Couvillon about if the murder on the show is real.
Erath Police Chief Gerald Hebert, who has 30 years of law enforcement experience in Vermilion Parish, backs up the Sheriff.
“As long as I have been in law enforcement, there has not been any woman found murdered the way the lady was in the show,” said Hebert. “It is all fiction.”