Jun 7, 2015

…And they lived happily ever after?

It looks like some good things are rising from the ashes of the recently incinerated 20015 Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival Beauty Pageant.

Despite being canceled on the eve of the final event following the brutal murder of finalist Barbara Dubois, the pageant may not be permanently destined for the junk heap after all.

Pageant officials have expressed hope that next year's pageant will be conducted in honor of the young woman who lost her life on May 2.

Two suspects have been arrested: Erma Webb for attempted murder and Allie Lamar for the murder of Barbara Dubois.

The children of the women in custody are working to ease the heartbreak of those who knew Barbara Dubois and anyone who struggles with life challenges.

Barbara's old flame carries on her legacy

The Afterschool Alliance works to ensure all children have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs
Bill Lamar, acting head of Lamar Cosmetics, has established the Barbara Dubois Foundation in honor of his high school sweetheart.

The first recipient of a Foundation grant will be Ms. Dubois' favorite cause, the Afterschool Alliance. The Alliance provides communities with after-school activities for at-risk children and was the subject of Ms. Dubois' pageant platform.

Tuttle Confections, former sponsor of Barbara Dubois, has pledged an initial contribution of $20,000 with substantial yearly contributions to follow.

"Barbara was a fine young woman. It is tragic her life was ended. We are committed to helping continue the work she felt so strongly about." — Sam Tuttle president of the company.

Barbara's fellow finalist honors their friendship

Rachel wants to help the many people struggling with eating disorders like Barbara helped her
Avoid Yo-Yo Dieting by o5com
is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Rachel Webb, another finalist in the 2015 pageant, has pledged to tour the country, speaking at high schools and colleges about her ongoing battle with bulimia.

She recently revealed her illness publicly, saying she will spend the next year devoting herself to this task in honor of her friend Barbara.

"Had it not been for Barbara's urging, I would never have sought help. She made me realize I had a disease, to confront it, and to seek treatment. She saved my life!

"Now I want to repay her and her memory by telling of my battle and bringing the dangers of bulimia to the attention of young people across the country."

Bill Lamar reaches out to his lost love's biggest fan

Bill Lamar is taking Barbara's beloved 7-year-old friend under his wing
Another beneficiary of Barbara's legacy will be her seven-year-old friend, Billie Jo Jones. Bill Lamar is establishing a trust in the child's name to be used to further whatever training or education Billie Jo desires.

Mr. Lamar spoke warmly about both young women.
"Barbara loved this little girl and thought of her as family. Billie Jo lost her father last year, and now she's lost her dear 'Auntie Barbara.'

"I hope I can be a part of her life and make up for some of that loss. In return, she will help heal the hole that has been in my heart since I left my love seven years ago.

"I did not know then that I was leaving Barbara to face a crisis and heartbreak of her own. Had I known, I never would have gone. I have seven years of wasted time and heartbreak to make up for."

Too good to be true?

If it sounds like a fairy tale with a "they all lived happily ever after" ending — it isn't. It's real life, where there are never any guarantees.

But then again… truth is stranger than fiction.

We'll just have to wait and see.
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Jun 1, 2015

Beauty queen killer arraigned

Pageant Sponsor Charged in Brutal Killing

Allie Lamar was arraigned in the Yoknapatawpha County Court
The tragic story of murder and beauty queens came to a conclusion today as Alexandra "Allie" Johnson Lamar was arraigned on homicide and aggravated assault charges in Yoknapatawpha County Court.

The cosmetics magnate, clad in a prison jumpsuit, appeared subdued and dispirited. She did not speak except to plead not guilty to all charges.

Lamar, 58, is accused of killing Barbara Dubois, one of three finalists in the Yoknapatawpha County Literature Festival Beauty Pageant that Lamar Cosmetics sponsored.

A trial is expected to follow as quickly as court schedules allow.

Slain beauty queen Barbara Dubois
Dubois, 23, was found dead early in the morning of May 2, 2015, at the Yoknapatawpha County Conference Center where the pageant was being held.

She was a lifelong resident of Oxford and a veteran of the beauty pageant circuit. Friends said that she entered this pageant as a springboard to the Miss Mississippi competition.

As authorities investigated the Dubois murder, Oxford learned more than anyone could have ever dreamed about the beauty pageant business. Rumors spread throughout town as residents speculated on the identity of the murderer.

Many people thought a jealous competitor could have been behind the killing. Other people guessed that an obsessive fan could have been the murderer.

Erma Webb was the first suspect arrested in the Dubois case
The investigation took a strange turn on May 19 when Erma Webb was arrested and charged with what the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department described as "offenses related to the Dubois investigation."

Webb, 52, is the mother of another pageant finalist, Rachel Webb. Faced with the news of Webb's arrest, many Oxford residents assumed that the motive for the Dubois murder was an obsessed stage mother.

Webb was charged with attempted murder, and oddly enough, poisoning, but sheriff's department officials have not released more specific details about Webb's involvement in this case. The District Attorney's office has also refused to comment.

Allie Lamar has been charged with murdering Barbara Dubois
The news of a second arrest in the case spread throughout town quickly. "I just couldn't believe it when I heard," said ballet teacher Rhonda Specht. "I know all those girls — and their mothers. This is just incredible."

Those associated with the pageant were particularly puzzled about why Allie Lamar would do anything that could ruin the event she and her company were counting on as a lifeline.

"I don't know how this could happen. I mean, even if we can somehow get over the idea of the murder, it still just doesn't make any sense," said pageant judge Frank Margold.

"This pageant was Lamar Cosmetics' last hope from a business perspective. They were just barely keeping their heads above water. Allie seemed to have such high hopes for this pageant. Why bring such bad publicity?"

Less than a week before Allie Lamar was taken into custody, Lamar Cosmetics filed for bankruptcy protection. Lamar's son, Bill, who is expected to take over the family business, painted a rosy picture of the company's future despite the current money problems — but that was before the founder and president was arrested for murder.

Repeated calls to the offices of Lamar Cosmetics since the arrest on Thursday have gone unreturned, and attempts to locate Bill Lamar for comment have been unsuccessful.

Check back for updates on this developing story.
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