2 St. John Parish employees indicted in deadly amoeba investigation

2 St. John Parish employees indicted in deadly amoeba investigation

St. John Parish employees Kevin Branch and Danielle Roussel have been indicted on two counts each of malfeasance in office and filing or maintaining false public records.

The indictments stem from a state police investigation into inconsistencies in St. John Parish water records connected to the discovery of a deadly amoeba in the parish's water system.

As part of their job duties, Branch, 54, and Roussel, 43, were tasked with collecting water samples from at least two locations, including the Lions Water Treatment Plant in Reserve and an additional site in Mt. Airy, to ensure that the public water met specific quantities of residual chlorine as required by Louisiana law. The employees were to truthfully record those findings on a daily log, which was to be filed with the Department of Health and Hospitals each month.

According to the indictment, through a Louisiana State Police investigation it was determined that Global Positioning Systems (GPS) permanently attached to the parish vehicles assigned to Branch and Roussel showed that the two did not collect the samples that they attested to. The GPS data showed that on numerous days where the employees alleged to have tested water samples, they were not near the site of testing.

The employees falsified information in their logs to reflect that they were on site, according to the indictment.

Louisiana State Police investigated the case and turned over their findings to the Louisiana Attorney General's Office for prosecution. Branch and Roussel were given 24 hours to surrender to the St. John the Baptist Parish Jail.

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