Confessed killer Phillip DeSelle released from prison

Published: Jan. 22, 2015 at 2:31 AM CST|Updated: Aug. 5, 2016 at 9:33 PM CDT
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Averie Grace Evans was 11 years old when she disappeared while selling candy door-to-door for a...
Averie Grace Evans was 11 years old when she disappeared while selling candy door-to-door for a school fundraiser. (Source: Erin Keyser)

HOMER, LA (KSLA) - The confessed killer of an 11-year-old Natchitoches girl has been released from prison after serving less than half of his 50-year sentence.

Averie Evans disappeared while selling candy door-to-door for a school fundraiser on November 5, 1990. She would have turned 12 the following month.

In a statement posted on the

Thursday morning, Averie's family addressed DeSelle's release:

Another day has dawned and our Averie is still gone, and now her killer walks free. The cold, gray rain outside matches our grief. Wade Correctional has confirmed that he was released and has left the prison. We wait now for confirmation of where he will be living. He has 48 hours to report to a probation and parole office – the end of the 48 hours falls on Saturday and that means it could be Monday before he reports. 4 days of no supervision. Please continue to share his information and his photo with urgency. Hold you children a little tighter. The world just got a little colder.

Because prosecutors did not have a body, they let DeSelle plead to manslaughter and aggravated kidnapping. He got the maximum of 40 years for manslaughter and 10 for kidnapping, for a total of 50 years to be served concurrently.

DeSelle became eligible for release on good time parole supervision after serving 24 years of his sentence "as a result of diminution of sentence, (applicable good time statutes at the time the crime was committed)," according to Pam LaBorde, communications director for the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

"Knowing he is out there, it's a very fearful day," said Erin Keyser, the aunt of Averie Grace Evans.

According to Keyser, the family stayed up late Wednesday night, texting each other words of support, knowing what would happen in the morning. "Everybody's together, Averie's sisters are together with their mom," she said.

What happens next is concerning for Averie's family, "We do feel like given the opportunity, he will hurt another child," she said.

LaBorde has confirmed to KSLA News 12 that DeSelle walked free from the Wade Correctional Center Thursday morning, having arranged transportation by private vehicle. According to relatives of his victim, he has stated his intention to register with probation and parole in Ville Platte, Louisiana. The office serves Allen, Evangeline and St. Landry parishes.

DeSelle could face another sentence of sorts once he's out of prison; trying to adjust to life on the outside.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Bruce McCormick says it won't be easy for DeSelle.

"I doubt you're going to find any community that is going to welcome him with open arms" says Dr. McCormick.

It's the same freedom DeSelle robbed of little Averie Evans when she knocked on his door that day in November 1990.

"During the parole hearing, we asked why and he said he was just having a bad day, and snapped" said Erin Keyser, Averie's aunt.

"What if he has another bad day? The things that argue against that are his age, and the fact that he would be under close observation by anyone that knows his history" says Dr. McCormick.

DeSelle, now 65, will begin his life over again in South Louisiana in a town about two hours away from Natchitoches where Evans vanished.

"Now if he is able to relocate to some place where he is not known, establish a work record, establish relationships without his history being immediately apparent, he may be a leg up on being able to function under the radar" says Dr. McCormick.

Rallies were planned in South Louisiana in protest of DeSelle's release. "I'm so proud of that community, especially the Turkey Creek area, that stood up and has taken a stand against this man coming into their community and threatening their children," said Keyser.

DeSelle is believed to have family near Ville Platte in South Louisiana which is where he will be required to report to his probation and parole officer for the next 26 years following his release.

KSLA News 12 has put in a request to the Department of Corrections to speak to DeSelle about his side of the story.

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