Cold case: Juanita Jones’s unsolved murder

Four things immediately come to mind when friends recall Juanita Jones.

First, she had a passion for cooking, and second, she was very determined to work her small, home-style cooking restaurant full-time.

The third is that her life was taken suddenly in November 1989 during a robbery at a Circle K where she worked — just on the cusp of fulfilling her culinary dream.

The last is that her murder remains unsolved.

At the time of her death, Jones, then 32, was working two jobs so she could save enough money to specialize in her restaurant, Down Home Barbeque, and had already turned in her notice at the Circle K to start this transition.

Her restaurant was modestly sized and located on a corner property, next to where she lived in Haughton. 

Cold case: Juanita Jones's unsolved murder
Cold case: Juanita Jones’s unsolved murder

Before this, she spent a while within the Army — she joined after graduating from Haughton high school — and was briefly married but eventually returned home to Bossier Parish.

It had been after the military that she became closer to her childhood friends; Brenda Spikes, Betty Robinson, Margret Rushing, and Betty Harper.

“We celebrated. We celebrated. I couldn’t await Sunday so we could all get together and that we would talk, talk and eat,” Spikes recalled of the group’s tradition of visiting and catching abreast of what went on during the week. 

But in November 1989, most of the group was not living in Bossier Parish. Spikes was living in South Carolina, Robinson in Dallas, and Rushing in Maryland.

Harper, however, still lived within the area and would see Jones regularly on her way home from work.

Harper said she would normally get off work around 10 p.m. and would stop by the Circle K and would stick with Jones until her shift ended, usually around midnight. Afterward, the 2 would attend the shop together to urge items for cooking or other supplies.

“I was always up in there together with her. I’d say, ‘Girl, you don’t get to be in here by yourself like this. Ain’t you scared?’ and she or he said. ‘

Well, the sheriff and them, they’re going to be passing by. They’ll be stopping to urge coffee and doughnuts,'” Harper reflected.

The night of Jones’ murder, Harper was faraway from work then, therefore, didn’t stop by the shop.  When police notified of the incident, it had already been dark for hours and northwest Louisiana not expected to ascertain daybreak until about another eight. 

The robbery and shooting believed to possess occurred around 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 13, 1989. 

A Louisiana trooper had stopped at the Circle K where Jones worked, located at the corner of Bodcau Station Road and Highway 80.

He left and made it not even about 10 minutes down the road when he heard the decision come across the radio, consistent with Bossier Parish Sheriff Capt. Shannon Mack, who now handles the cold case.

The Times interviewed Mack about the case in January 2020. Jones found by a customer who had just entered the shop. She seriously injured with round within the head.

Cigarette boxes littered the ground behind the counter and therefore the register cleaned of its cash. 

A previous report printed within the Times estimated $65 and a few changes stolen. Jones went to the hospital for treatment. She died five days later. The store had no security camera, and Jones not ready to describe a suspect or suspects.

One person within the general surrounding area reportedly told police they heard a squealing tire, a shot, or a muffled shot.

Another witness told police they saw a vehicle leaving at a high rate of speed, but they were not ready to tell what quite a car, Mack said.

“They got some leads that were very, very different that went down very different avenues,” Mack says. Mack also noted that this incident happened to occur when the Shreveport-Bossier area was experiencing a rash of gasoline station shop robberies.

Addie Jones, the mother of Juanita, took over the restaurant and kept it open for decades. She believes the person or persons involved may have either lived within the area or a minimum of have some connection.

Harsh Waghmode
An undergraduate pursuing B.Tech (Electronics & Telecommunications) from MITS, Gwalior. However, I have keen interest in writing and reading and therefore, I write poetries, stories, blogs, articles. Around a couple years back, I founded a literary organisation named Doodling Words, based in Sagar, Madhya Pardesh. We are a team of 20 artists. Doodling Words recently collaborated with IIM, Indore and MNIT, Jaipur.