Woman Murdered After Trying to Quit Klan

Ku Klux Klan
Cynthia Lynch
Cynthia Charlotte Lynch

A backwoods Ku Klux Klan campsite became a murder scene in November when the boss of an obscure Klan outfit in Louisiana shot a woman in the head two days after initiating her into the group, authorities said.

Raymond "Chuck" Foster of Bogalusa, La., was charged with second-degree murder in the death of Cynthia Charlotte Lynch, 43, a divorcée from Tulsa, Okla., described by acquaintances as being easily influenced. Five men — including Foster's son — and two women between the ages of 20 and 30 were also charged with obstruction of justice in the bizarre case.

Police discovered Lynch's body in a remote area after a convenience store clerk reported that two men had come in not long before dawn asking what they could use to remove blood from their clothes. Foster's son, Shane Foster, was alleged to be one of them.

"The IQ level of this group is not impressive, to be kind," said Jack Strain, the local sheriff.

Police believe that Lynch — who had never been outside Oklahoma — contacted Foster's group, known as the Sons of Dixie or the Dixie Brotherhood, over the Internet. She arrived in Louisiana by bus on a Friday and was taken to a camp on a sandbar accessible only by boat. Lynch went through the initiation, which included having her head shaved, and was bestowed with the title of grand kleagle (or recruiter), but by Sunday had decided she wanted to leave. That angered Foster and he killed her, police say. Shane Foster and others tried to conceal the shooting by cutting the bullet out of Lynch's body, burning her personal effects and disposing of her body about a half-mile away from their campsite, police said.

Local authorities said they were unaware of Foster's group. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project has no record of a Sons of Dixie or Dixie Brotherhood, but does have information showing that Foster was the founding imperial wizard, or national leader, of the Southern White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 2001. That faction was based in Watson, La., and soon added chapters in the South and Midwest before disbanding in 2005. The Southern Knights gained brief notoriety in 2003, when an Ohio official, Jeremy Parker, posted pipe bomb-making instructions on the Internet in response to a Martin Luther King Jr. celebration. "Sure would hate to see anything happen," Parker wrote at the time.

Guns, knives, a Confederate flag, a KKK flag and another flag depicting a swastika were taken as evidence, as were five white Klan uniforms and one black imperial wizard uniform, police said after Foster's arrest.

The Louisiana initiation wasn't the first Klan induction ceremony to go awry, only the most extreme. In November 2003, Invisible Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan member Gregory Allen Freeman was charged with two crimes in Johnson City, Tenn., after he accidentally shot a fellow Klansman in the head and seriously wounded him during an initiation ceremony that involved a mock lynching.