By Calvin Palmer
The Tulsa woman shot and killed after she tried to leave a Ku Klux Klan initiation ceremony in Louisiana has been identified as Cynthia Charlotte Lynch.
Her former attorney who defended her in a drugs case described the 43-year-old divorcee with close cropped hair as a lonely person who likely reached out to the group in search of a sense of belonging.
Lynch contacted the Dixie Brotherhood over the Internet and then traveled by bus to Sun, Louisiana for the initiation. Investigators describe her as gullible and vulnerable and believe the trip was her first outside the state of Oklahoma.
Her former attorney Fred Henderson DeMier said: “I would think the reason she was even involved with these people was probably because she was extremely lonesome and wanted to be involved in something. She probably would have joined the Boy Scouts if she could have.”
After the initiation ceremony, Lynch was to return to Oklahoma and recruit members for the group but something went wrong and she ended up being shot and killed by the leader Raymond “Chuck” Foster after a fight broke out on Sunday when she tried to leave.
Foster, 44, has been charged with second-degree murder. Seven others – five men and two women – have been charged with obstructing justice, as they tried to cover up Lynch’s murder by burning some of her personal possessions.
Weapons, flags and KKK robes were found at the campsite in St. Tammany Parish, which is about 60 miles north of New Orleans.
George Bonnett of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Department said investigators searched the home in Bogalusa that Foster had rented for the past five years.
Klan paraphernalia, documents and computer files were found. Among the seized documents were membership applications, titles and a chain of command for group members.
Capt. Bonnett said: “We recovered various documents out of that home that are giving us an indication of the organizational structure and guidelines of the group.”
The FBI is also working closely with local law officials investigating the incident. Special Agent in Charge David W. Welker said the FBI would “aggressively investigate” any leads.
DeMier represented Lynch after her 2005 arrest for possession of methamphetamine. She was initially charged with drug possession, resisting arrest, obstruction and breach of the peace.
Lynch received a deferred sentence on the drug charge and the rest of the charges were dismissed.
DeMier said Lynch exhibited signs of mental illness. “I don’t think she always thought rationally,” he said. “I’d be talking to the judge, and she would loudly speak to the judge when it was not appropriate to do so. She was a really nice person — just odd.”