JPSO seeks help from public in reopened ‘The Man in the Well’ cold case murder; warrant issued for one suspect

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 5:33 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) is asking for the public’s assistance with a cold case murder from 1984 that was recently reopened.

One warrant has been issued in the case for 58-year-old Patricia Tito, who is currently in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections. Tito is serving a sentence for a homicide committed in Shreveport in 2003.

Patricia Tito in 1994.
Patricia Tito in 1994.(JPSO)
Patricia Tito, 58, is currently in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections.
Patricia Tito, 58, is currently in the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections.(JPSO)

As JPSO’s investigation progressed, Tito identified Delvin Avard Sibley, 76, as the person responsible for the 1984 murder.

Sibley, formerly of Shreveport, is considered to be a person of interest in the investigation, so JPSO is asking anyone with knowledge of his possible involvement in the homicide or later disposal of the victim’s remains to come forward.

Delvin Avard Sibley
Delvin Avard Sibley(JPSO)
Delvin Avard Sibley
Delvin Avard Sibley(JPSO)

In Jan. of 1984, the family of Lester Rome reported him missing to the Grand Isle Police Department. JPSO investigators became involved in the case the next month. At the time of the initial investigation, Tito was found residing in Rome’s home and operating his business. She claimed that Rome had simply gone on a trip then denied any knowledge of foul play.

The missing persons case was eventually suspended after all investigative leads were exhausted.

In April, the Sabine Parish Sherrif’s Office (SPSO) opened a homicide investigation after human remains were recovered in a water well at the 1000 block of Recknor Road in Many, LA. That victim remained unidentified for 35 years, and the case became known to that area as “The Man in the Well”. It was determined at that time that the man had been killed as result of blunt force trauma and possible stab wounds.

In 2021, “The Man in the Well” was identified by the Sabine Parish Coroner’s Office as Lester Rome.

Investigators from SPSO contacted JPSO, and the two agencies exchanged information about the cases. Officials with SPSO interviewed Tito and provided information that indicated Rome had been killed in Grand Isle before his remains were dumped in Sabine Parish. The case was eventually transferred to JPSO for further investigation.

In spring of 2022, Jefferson Parish officers interviewed Tito, and she agreed to take them to the location where Rome was murdered on Grand Isle near Elmer’s Island. Tito told investigators that she was present during the murder but placed responsibility for the crime solely on Sibley. She stated that when Sibley eventually left the Grand Isle area, he did so in possession of Rome’s remains. As JPSO’s investigation continued, detectives learned that the well Rome’s remains were found was on a property formerly owned by Sibley’s family.

According to JPSO, at this point of the investigation, they’ve obtained an arrest warrant for Tito for second degree murder in the death of Rome. While the level of her involvement is not entirely clear, and despite her claim of innocence, Tito had knowledge of Rome’s death and failed to notify law enforcement or a member of his family between 1984 and 2021.

Anyone with information regarding the initial disappearance and murder of Rome, or Delvin Avard Sibley’s and Patricia Tito’s whereabouts in 1984, or any other information that may be of help to our investigators is asked to call Captain Dennis Thornton of JPSO’s Cold Case Unit at 504-364-5300 or contact Crimestoppers.