Just days before Christmas, December 23, 1997, the charred body of an unidentified man was discovered by a logger in a remote part of northern Florida, near Pensacola. The man was burned beyond recognition, and the crime scene required painstaking police work. Police were concerned they would never be able to identify the victim because both of his hands were severely burnt and his facial features were unrecognizable. Who was this man? And why would anyone want him dead?
All police had to go on was a tiny amount of unburned skin, a small amount of gray hair, and something odd: a sticky note with a street address in St. Petersburg written on it.
When Pensacola PD identified the address on the note, they reached out to their counterparts in St. Pete, hoping for some answers. But two weeks passed…and nothing.
In early January police got a break when video surveillance footage of an unlikely pair leaving a Walmart near Pensacola surfaced on a local media broadcast. Remarkably, a citizen called and was able to identify the two people in the video as Reverend Lomax Salter, and 37-year-old Lydia Rosario. The two were at Walmart– eight hours away from home– buying a gas can and a shovel at 3AM, very close to where the body was discovered.
After weeks of investigating, police learned that Lydia Rosario was friends with an elderly man named “Lou” who she claimed was on vacation with a gay friend. Police couldn’t get a last name out of her, so they ran the plates on the van Lydia was driving, and came up with the name Louis Saulnier. Police still didn’t know the identity of the body up near Pensacola but they develoeded a theory that the owner of the vehicle could be the victim. When they conducted a “welfare check” at the residence of Louis Saulnier in St. Petersburg, they found no sign of him.
In tonight’s episode of True Crime, Aphrodite Jones interviews Lomax Salter and Lydia Rosario, hoping to get the bottom of what really happened to Louis Saulnier. Lomax Salter insists he’s a victim of a corrupt police system who framed him for a crime he didn’t commit, while Lydia Rosario insists it’s time to tell the truth and give the Saulnier family the “closure” they deserve.
Who’s the liar? Are either of them telling the truth? Tune in to True Crime With Aphrodite Jones tonight at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery to see whose story holds up and get real answers.