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Averie was selling candy door-to-door on November 5, 1990 in Natchitoches, Louisiana. She was attempting to earn money for a school fundraiser at the time. She had visited a friend and was on her way home at the time of her disappearance. She was last seen in the area of Fifth and Stephens Streets. She has never been heard from again. Her white, pink and purple Murray bicycle disappeared with her.
Phillip Louis DeSelle was one of Averie's neighbors in 1991 and had previously purchased candy from her. He was considered a suspect in her case from early on in the investigation, but the police did not have any evidence against him until January 1991, when DeSelle sent an anonymous letter to authorities confessing to strangling Averie. The note said he disposed of her body in a trash bin and put her bicycle in Sibley Lake. In his letter, DeSelle apologized for his actions and described some of the clothing and jewelry Averie wore on the day of her disappearance. After it was discovered that he was the letter's author, DeSelle attempted to commit suicide by slashing his wrists, but survived. He was subsequently charged with first-degree murder. Averie's bicycle was located where he said it would be, but her remains were not recovered in spite of an extensive search of the local landfill.
DeSelle pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated kidnapping in connection with Averie's case, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Prosecutors agreed to the plea bargain because, without the child's body, they did not believe they could prove a case of premeditated murder. Photos of DeSelle are posted below this case summary. He was released from prison in January 2015, but will remain on parole until 2040 and is registered as a sex offender.
Averie was a straight-A student at the time of her disappearance, and was noted as a talented violinist. has never been located, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved.
Left: Phillip DeSelle, approximate date 1990;
Right: DeSelle, approximate date 2015