By Hannah Shiver
This story is part of a collaborative project between Project: Cold Case and a University of North Florida Journalism class. The student credited above wrote this story as a class project.
Jody LeCornu had a heart of gold. She was one of the sweetest people you would ever meet. Everyone who came in contact with her was drawn to her.
So why, on a cold night in March 1996, was she murdered?
For her identical twin sister Jenny, it meant her world as she knew it was over. The sisters had been inseparable and they shared everything. They had the same friends, the same bedroom, and even took the same classes in school. Jody had always been the more outgoing one and helped the shyer Jenny become more confident.
Jody had always been the stronger half of the two. So when she was gone forever, Jenny felt empty.
When the incident occurred, the sisters were not even in the same state. Jenny had been living in California with her boyfriend. She was trying to get away from her old life.
Having a long line of alcoholism running in their family, it was no shock that they both developed drinking issues by the age of twelve. After being forced by their parents to attend rehab, Jenny was not ready to be thrown back into that same world again. When Jenny left for the Golden State, Jody went back to Baltimore.
Jody returned home with her boyfriend whom she had met while receiving treatment. She tried to keep a positive outlook on her new life. She had always had a way of making situations better.
But on March 2, she had been acting out of character.
Jody had been living with her boyfriend and another female roommate at the time. Before leaving for work that day, she and her boyfriend got into a heated argument. During the exchange, he told her not to return home that night. After she got off work, Jody went to the Mt. Washington Tavern, a local bar, with a few friends. Jody would often hang out with friends after work, but her actions were out of the norm for her.
Witnesses say that Jody acted out of character most of the night. She ended up staying until the bar closed at 2:00 in the morning. The bar manager asked Jody if she could take one of the disabled patrons home. Jody had always been paranoid about driving through rough weather, but agreed to help despite the heavy snowfall.
As Jody returned home, she stopped at the liquor store then proceeded to the Caldor Lot (now called the Drumcastle Government Center) and made a few calls on the car phone.
While she was sitting in her car, a white BMW pulled up alongside and began to exchange words through their open windows. As Jody attempted to drive away, a gunshot was heard. Jody was struck by a bullet that traveled through the window and car seat. She was able to drive the car across multiple lanes of traffic to a parking lot across the street. There, the car was seen driving in circles.
The shooter had watched Jody attempt to drive away. They eventually followed to the adjacent parking lot, where her car was still running. The suspect reportedly reached inside the car to engage the parking brake, then proceeded to grab something out of the vehicle and flee. What item the suspect took is unknown, but Jody’s purse was never found. According to the Baltimore County Police Department website, the suspect was described as a black male with a stocky build and wearing a camouflage jacket.
The news of Jody’s death was naturally devastating for her family. Jenny, her twin sister, felt like she had been ripped in half.
The investigation into Jody’s death has also been a struggle for the family. For the past 23 years, the Baltimore County Police Department has declined to share details of the investigation. Since the incident occurred along county lines, it fell in their jurisdiction. Offers for assistance from the city police were also declined.
Jenny has tried countless times to obtain the case records, but to no avail. There is a law that allows officials to keep any records private they would like as long as the case is still open. There were also three surveillance videos taken of the area the shooting occurred in but the police claimed that because of the snow the videos were too blurry to obtain any valuable information.
To fight back, Jenny does all that she can to get her sisters name out there. She has called every single news station she could, and every single newspaper that would write an article. She created a Facebook page called “Justice4Jody” where she continuously posts new stories people write about her sister. However, the most monumental thing she has ever done to bring awareness to her sister’s case is put up seven large billboards. Splayed across all three of them in giant red font states “Find My Killer.” Jenny hopes the ominous message will bring new interest to her sister’s cold case. When asked about the billboards, Jenny says the movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” inspired her to take action. The billboards have gotten so much publicity that she is already thinking of her next design. She wants justice for her sister, and is determined to do whatever it takes to get it.
Anyone with information should contact the Baltimore County Police Department’s Homicide Unit Unsolved Case Squad at 410-887-3943, or the Communications Team at 410-307-2020. You can also submit a tip to Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7-LOCK UP. You may also text “MCS” plus your tip to CRIMES (274637). All tips received through Metro Crime Stoppers will remain anonymous.
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