Jody Plauché was eleven years old in 1983 and lived with his family in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His parents, Gary and June Plauché, provided a quiet life for the boy, who always enjoyed physical activities.
Gary noticed that his son had an affinity for combat sports, so he decided to enroll Jody in Karate. The instructor, Jeff Doucet, was 24 at the time and also owned the martial arts school.
Jeff Doucet had no close family or friends, always explaining that he was originally from Texas and had recently moved to Louisiana. Nonetheless, he was very popular among his students and their families.
The instructor was so close to the students that he used to take them to the movies, ice cream shops, and even to out-of-state competitions. He seemed to be someone special and dedicated to his students’ development.
Jody’s parents were very happy with their son’s progress. Despite enjoying team sports, the boy was shy and introverted, and the martial arts environment seemed to be developing his social skills.
His parents were so grateful that they invited Jeff to their house for dinner several times.
When Jody was on the eve of his eleventh birthday, Jeff revealed to him who he really was. The teacher began abusing the boy in the last six months of 1983.
According to police reports, the abuse happened almost daily. Perhaps out of fear, shame or guilt, Jody never revealed what happened when he was alone with Jeff Doucet.
It was common for 10-year-old Jody to have to deal with his instructor’s jealous outbursts. He used to say that the boy should love him more than he loved his father, because he was capable of doing anything for their love.
On February 14, 1984, Jeff Doucet was about to be arrested for writing bad checks and also lose his gym for non-payment of rent.
He decided to kidnap Jody and take him to a motel in Anaheim, California, where he sexually assaulted and raped him. When Jody took too long to return home, his father decided to go to the gym to find him and realized that the doors were locked.
As it was common for the boys to go out with their teacher, Gary thought they would be back soon. As the hours passed and anxiety grew, Gary and June decided to call the police.
Over the next ten days, Jody was constantly molested. On February 29, 1984, Jeff allowed the boy to call his family and tell them he was fine. From this call, the whereabouts of the kidnapper could be traced and, on March 1st, the police raided the motel, rescued Jody Plauché and arrested Jeff Doucet.
What nobody knew
In an attempt to make it difficult to recognize the boy, Jeff dyed Jody’s hair dark brown. Until then, the Plauché family believed that Jeff had emotional problems and had kidnapped the boy to raise him as his own.
It was only after the forensic examination that the truth came out. Jody confirmed the abuse to his parents, saying that it all seemed very obvious, but that he was too afraid to tell the truth. The boy went on to say that from the beginning he knew it was wrong, but he didn’t know how to ask for help in the face of so many threats.
Gary Plauché panicked at his son’s statements and revealed that he felt betrayed and powerless in the face of so many atrocities.
Jeff Doucet said that he had also been sexually abused during his childhood and that Jody was not the first child he had molested.
Settling the score
On March 16, 1984, Doucet was taken back to Louisiana to stand trial. He arrived at the airport and was taken away in handcuffs by police officers at around 9:30 p.m., where Plauché was waiting for Jeff Doucet with a revolver.
It’s not clear how Gary knew the exact time of Jeff’s arrival, but he had acquaintances who worked there and who could have given him this information. What is certain is that Gary knew the flight, the arrival time and also the corridor through which the criminal would pass.
A WBRZ news crew was waiting for Jeff Doucet and set up their cameras to record his arrival.
In front of the news crew were several payphones, where Gary Plauché waited while talking to his best friend on the phone. He wore a baseball cap and sunglasses so that no one would recognize him. During the call, the man even said to his friend: “Man, I’m ready to do some shit!”
As he passed Gary, Jeff pulled out his gun and shot Doucet point-blank in the right side of the head. The man fell to the ground, bleeding from a wound near his right ear.
Gary Plauché hung up the phone before a police officer could stop him and dropped his gun. The police officers who grabbed Plauché recognized him. Jeff Doucet fell into a coma and died of his gunshot wound the following day.
Temporary psychotic state
Gary was arrested and evaluated by doctors, who determined that he was the victim of a mental breakdown after learning of the abuse committed against his son.
Judge Frank Saia decided that sending Plauché to prison wouldn’t help anyone and that there was virtually no risk of him committing another crime.
He was then sentenced to seven years’ probation, with five years’ parole and 300 hours of community service, which he completed in 1989.
At the age of 67, Gary Plauché gave an interview in which he declared that he had no regrets about killing Doucet and that he would do it again. In August 2019, the book “Why, Gary, why? The story of Jody Plauché” was released by Jody.
Jody was very upset by his father’s attitude at the time. He said that he didn’t want Jeff to die and that the fact that he was in prison was enough. Years passed and he returned to live with his family. Jody’s father and mother were fundamental in his psychological recovery process.
Plauché suffered his first stroke in 2011. He died in 2014 in a nursing home after another stroke, three weeks before his 69th birthday.