Donna Christine O’Banion, age 25, vanished from Baton Rouge, Louisiana on October 23, 1985.
Donna worked as a waitress at Southern Comfort, an adult lounge on Airline Highway in 1985. She was last seen leaving work at 2:00am on the day of her disappearance, but she never made it to her home at 5986 Stumberg Lane.
Donna was apparently living with her mother at the time of her disappearance, as the same address was given for her mother in news articles at the time. However, she was married to Kenneth O’Banion. He filed for legal separation two weeks after she was last seen. They had a daughter.
Kenneth O’Banion was the leader of a motorcycle club called Sons of Silence. He was killed in 1993, following an altercation with a man in the parking lot of Sugars, another adult lounge in the area. According to news reports, he confronted another lounge patron who was dating a specific female employee that he was interested in.
While I haven’t seen anything reported in media accounts that suggest Kenneth was ever a suspect in Donna’s disappearance, there is an interesting post on Websleuths from someone identifying herself as a friend of Donna’s. She recalls Kenneth telling her that Donna had left with another man and gone to Florida. She further commented that he didn’t seem too concerned in the days and weeks that followed.
That kind of struck me as odd – that he’d get into an violent altercation over a woman he wasn’t even involved with, but would be calm and relatively quiet as his wife left him for another man. However, since it appears that Donna was living with her mother when she vanished, it’s possible that the two were estranged and had moved on with separate lives by that point.
Donna’s mother filed a lawsuit against Sugars Lounge on behalf of Kenneth and Donna’s daughter, believing they did not do anything to prevent Kenneth’s death. The suit was not successful, and Donna’s mother is now deceased.
There were at least two serial killers in the Baton Rouge area – Derrick Todd Lee, and Sean Vincent Gillis. Although the earliest presumed killings by each of them didn’t occur until the 1990’s, both Lee and Gillis have been mentioned as persons of interest in the 1981 disappearance of Eleanor Parker.
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