Every now and then we share interviews with inspiring women who have turned their passion into a successful career. Today, we’re talking with Detective Lori Morgan, the resident forensic expert at the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office.
There are beautiful landscapes across America that appear untouched by man, but underneath them lays a sinister reality. On Tuesdays at 10 PM, Discovery Channel has been running its first-ever true crime series called “Killing Fields.” If you’re a fan of Netflix’s “Making a Murderer,” HBO’s “The Jinx” or “True Detective” this is a series you’ll want to check out. It is uniquely Discovery with an exploratory feel tracing the criminal investigation in real time.
The story follows homicide detectives as they reopen the case of a young woman found in the Louisiana swamplands, a body dumpsite, where the forces of nature often erase evidence of a crime. Tormented by an unfulfilled promise to solve the 1997 homicide investigation, Detective Rodie Sanchez comes out of retirement to rework the case that has haunted him for the past 18-years. Armed with cutting edge investigative technologies, Rodie puts together a top-notch team including Detective and forensics expert Lori Morgan. Originally a stay-at-home mother, after her children were in school, Lori sought a new challenge and went on to earn her degree in forensics.
Lori is often first to hop into her vehicle to attend to a crime scene in the show. She is the liaison with the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab and is tasked with the job of finding a piece of evidence that can be used in conjunction with modern day forensics to help solve a case.
We had a chance to catch up with her and ask her about what it’s like to be chasing killers, while balancing life at home with her family. Here’s what she had to say.
What drew you to the field of Forensics?
I was always interested in the field of Forensics – even before I even knew what it was. When growing up, my brother and I would read stories about crimes and serial killers. While most kids shy away from that kind of stuff, or be a little afraid, that wasn’t in our case. But interestingly enough, even though I was so interested in that as a kid, I didn’t go into this business when I first went to college.
Was it hard making a career switch later on in life?
The challenge was finding a degree program that would work into my life with my family. I never wanted to take away too much time with them to study or be in class. The hardest part about studying was that I usually had to study late at night, after my children went to bed. Some nights I was so tired that I would just have to throw in the towel and wake up super early to study. I also tried to get as much studying done while my kids were at school.
What is it like to have a full-time job as detective and a busy family life at home?
Are your kids interested in following in your career footsteps?
So far, no. None of my children have expressed an interest in Forensics. They see how much I love my career but they also see the late nights and long hours that doesn’t have very much monetary compensation. I tell my children that their career choice should be something they have passion for because the money aspect of it will only keep them happy for a limited time.
Was it strange to have a TV crew following you around in your daily routines?
When we first began the project, I don’t think any of us realized the magnitude of it all. In the beginning, it was strange but now we’ve all gotten used to the crew. And we’re actually going to miss them when they leave.
Is working as a DNA detective just like CSI, True Detective or those other shows on TV?
Not exactly. We don’t always get that perfect DNA profile to give a lead that will end up with an arrest or a suspect. There aren’t machines yet that draw up this beautiful fingerprint every time. A lot of times we have to deal with very small partial fingerprints that yield nothing, and the same goes with DNA. It’s only a 50-50 shot that you’re going to get that DNA profile, and then when you do get it, that person has to be in the national database system for you to even get a coded hit.
Anything else you’d like to add?
The mystery deepens each week and the clues keep coming in. Just last week we learned that one of the key suspects that the detectives were looking at in the murder of Eugenie Boisfontaine, serial killer Derrick Todd Lee, died from an undisclosed illness. He had been sitting on death row for a different murder conviction. You just never know what will happen next.
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Hear more from Lori:
KILLING FIELDS is one of the network’s most high profile series right now. It is co-executive produced by Emmy Award-winning producer Tom Fontana (“St. Elsewhere”) and Academy Award-winning film director Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”) and follows homicide detectives as they reopen the case of a young woman found in the Louisiana swamplands. You can watch Tuesday nights at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery channel.
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