Left and Right: Averie circa, 1990
Vital Statistics at Time of Disappearance
Missing Since: November 5, 1990
Missing From: Natchitoches, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
Classification: Non-Family Abduction
Date Of Birth: December 15, 1978
Age: 11 years old
Height and Weight: 5’0″ and 101 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian Female, Brown hair, Brown eyes, Averie’s first name might be spelled as “Avery”
Clothing/Jewelry Description: A blue denim vest, a black sweater, and a pair of black jeans
NCMEC Number: 747227
Details of Disappearance
Averie was last seen in Natchitoches, Louisiana on November 5th 1990. She was selling candy door to door that day as she wanted to help raise money for her school orchestra. She stopped by a friends home before her disappearance and told her that she needed to deliver a few more candy bars quickly and that she would go straight home afterwards. She was last seen in the area of Fifth and Stephens Street at 4:30 pm.
She never returned home and was never seen or heard from again afterwards. Her parents reported her missing at 7:28 pm after she never came home and after her family was unable to locate her. Despite an extensive search by police and investigators, no trace of Averie was found during the initial stages of the investigation. At the time she went missing, she was riding a multi-colored white, pink, and purple Maury bicycle. It was not located when she initially disappeared.
Averie’s family was extensively questioned by law enforcement and are not considered suspects in the case. Investigators assured her father that these were the necessary measures taken during a missing persons investigation and that it was used to try to narrow down possible suspects in the case. Investigators additionally searched the Evans home for anything that might help find the girl but nothing substantial was found. The only thing they took was a book that contained the names and phone calls from people they received since Averie went missing.
Some thought Averie’s disappearance might be connected to the presumed abduction of Kimberly Norwood. Norwood disappeared from Texas in May of 1989. She was last seen walking home from a friends house. There’s been no established link between the cases and there are no named suspects in Norwood’s abduction.
Investigators believe Averie was abducted and murdered on the same day she disappeared. Shortly after her disappearance, investigators received an anonymous letter from an unnamed individual who claimed to have information on the case. The letter stated the individual was “sorry for what he did and that all evidence went up in ashes to heaven so she is with god.” Investigators originally thought the letter was a hoax and it wasn’t taken very seriously.
Averie’s father didn’t give much credibility to the letter and he remained hopeful he would find his daughter alive and safe. It was believed at the time that the writer likely got Averie’s information and description off the newspapers and posters that were shown after her presumed abduction. The letter was mailed from Many, Louisiana. Investigators later traced it back to Phillip Louis DeSelle.
Phillip was Averie’s neighbor in 1990. Averie has sold candy to him on three different occasions in the past month before she went missing. She told this to her stepsister and additionally stated that Phillip asked for her home address and her telephone number. He was arrested in January of 1991 and was charged with first degree murder and kidnapping in relation to Averie’s presumed death.
He later confessed in a written statement that he lured Averie into his home where he strangled her. He stated that he dumped Averie’s bicycle in Sybil Lake and he allegedly disposed of her body by putting it in a dumpster. In 1990, all garbage from the area was taken to a landfill about 70 miles away in DeSoto Parish. The FBI along with police searched through mountains of garbage for weeks but didn’t find any trace of Averie’s remains. Averie’s bicycle was found in the lake where he said it would be.
Since investigators lacked her body, the court had a hard time proving a first degree murder charge. Phillip subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and kidnapping. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison and another 10 years respectively. When asked why he killed the girl, he responded that he had a bad day and “just snapped.”
Investigators originally closed Averie’s case following the confession and sentencing. Years after her disappearance, the investigation into Averie’s presumed abduction was reopened and they dug up the driveway of the home that Phillip lived in at the time. Nothing was found as a result of the search. Phillip came up for parole in 2007 but Averie’s family petitioned to have his parole denied. The board denied his request at the time.
On January 22nd 2015, Phillip was released from prison on parole. He served just 24 years of his 40-50 year sentence. He was relocated to Ville Platte after his release but many residents including Averie’s family were outraged by his release and relocation. In fact, his address was leaked and posted all over social media at the time. He was rearrested on a parole violation after his living agreement changed.
Phillip’s last known location was in Alexandria, Louisiana. He is required to wear a GPS monitor until his supervised parole ends which is on July 30th 2040. He is required to follow a curfew that ends at 6:00 pm and he is required to notify police of any travel plans he might have. Averie’s family remains outraged by his release and feel he should’ve stayed in prison for much longer.
At the time of her disappearance, Averie was described as a straight A student and a talented violinist. Her two sisters have never really gotten over her death and were said to be extremely close to her at the time. Averie has never been located but foul play is suspected in the case.
Images: Phillip DeSelle (circa 1990), Phillip (circa 2015), Phillip (recently)
If you have any information concerning this case, please contact:
Natchitoches Police Department 318-352-8101