LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- The University of Lafayette is the first university to partner with “Project Beloved” to give sexual assault and domestic violence victims a special area where they can talk with investigators.
The interview room is in the recently renovated police department in Bittle Hall.
Lieutenant Darren Zachary, who works investigations for the University of Louisiana Police Department. The idea for the project started earlier this year.
“In April 2019, I reached out by way of Internet search, and came across a organization nonprofit called ‘Project Beloved,'” Zachary said. “I came in contact with Mrs. Tracy Matheson. We had a long conversation over the phone, started emailing back and forth and her project, her nonprofit organization, provides furnishings for soft interview rooms. That’s pretty much her mission in remembrance of her daughter, Molly.”
Molly Jane was 22-year-old when she was found dead inside her apartment in Fort Worth, Texas, where she was enrolled as a college student.
Authorities said she was raped and her death ruled as a homicide.
Matheson, Molly’s mother, established “Project Beloved: The Molly Jane Mission,” after her death.
“Meeting Mrs. Tracy was one of the best things that has happened in a long time when you’re talking about sexual assault,” Lt. Zachary said. “She’s a splitting image of a person that she’s all about helping victims and survivors and making sure that her daughter’s story is still out there.”
Here’s the difference between the standard interview room in the UL Lafayette Police Department versus the new soft interview room provided by Project Beloved.
“Our hope, as investigators, is that if we can get them in here to report what has happened, then it will give us one more tool to go out there with the information we need to investigate and hopefully put some of these offenders behind bars,” Zachary said.
Zachary says other law enforcement agencies are welcome to use the room.