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 Bertrand pleads not guilty to murdering Credeur
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2 months ago

Bertrand pleads not guilty to murdering Credeur

The Acadia Parish man accused of killing his stepdaughter last summer has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.

Kerry Bertrand entered that plea in an Acadia Parish courtroom this morning.

Bertrand is accused of killing Skylar Credeur in August. Prosecutors say he also violated a protective order Credeur filed against him several times.

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3 months ago

New Charges for Kerry Bertrand, Family's Wishes Rule Out Most Serious

Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Kerry Bertrand on second-degree murder charges in the death of his step-daughter Skylar Credeur. The charges could have been more serious, but according to District Attorney Mike Harson, the family of the victim wanted something else. Harson says, Credeur's family did not want a first-degree murder charge, which carries the possibility of the death sentence. The grand jury chose to indict Bertrand on second-degree murder, which carries a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

"The family was satisfied with that outcome and it in fact makes things a lot easier. We don't have to worry about a potential capital case with all the costs and so forth. It makes it a much easier case to prove because of the issues with intent," Harson said.

If it weren't for the family's wishes, there's a good chance Bertrand could have been indicted on first-degree murder. Only days before Credeur's death, she filed a restraining order against Bertrand. Under Louisiana law, someone who violates a protective order to commit a murder, can be charged with first-degree murder, if the grand jury indicts.

"The death penalty may not be available but life imprisonment is, which is the same penalty for either one. In a sense, I'm not going to say better, but being the family was certainly agreeable with it, it really met everything because it's a charge they wanted in the first place. It makes the possibility this case can be disposed of a lot faster than if we had it as a first degree murder," Harson said.

Harson says Bertrand will be re-arraigned in the next 30 days.

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3 months ago

Bertrand indicted on second-degree murder charge

The Acadia Parish man accused of killing his stepdaughter on August 21 is now formally charged with second-degree murder.

An Acadia Parish grand jury indicted today Kerry Bertrand on the charge.

Bertrand is accused of killing Skylar Credeur. Bertrand also allegedly violated a protective order filed against him by Credeur several times prior to the murder.

Bertrand remains in the Acadia Parish Jail.

Click the links below for related articles

http://www.katc.com/news/update-kerry-bertrand-charged-with-manslaughter/

http://www.katc.com/news/grand-jury-can-upgrade-manslaughter-charge-in-skylar-credeur-case/

http://www.katc.com/news/funeral-service-planned-for-skylar-lee-credeur/


http://www.katc.com/news/mother-of-skylar-credeur-to-get-full-custody-of-four-sons/

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4 months ago

Grand Jury Can Upgrade Manslaughter Charge in Skylar Credeur Case

The district attorney handling the Skylar Credeur murder case is speaking out. This after the only person of interest in the case, her step-father, is now officially charged in connection with her death. Yesterday, Kerry Bertrand was re-booked into the Acadia Parish jail on manslaughter charges. He has been held there since August on other charges, including six counts of violating protective orders and molestation.

Initially, Skylar's death was ruled a suicide when investigators found her in her bathtub with a laptop. But that all changed when family members found Bertrand hiding in the attic. Just days before the 20-year-old's death, she filed a restraining order against him.

But after month's of waiting for lab results, it was unclear why the district attorney decided to suddenly press charges, and why the charge of manslaughter.

It's a case that may finally see it's day in court, now that District Attorney Mike Harson has filed manslaughter charges against Kerry Bertrand in the death of 20-year-old Skylar Credeur.

"We couldn't formally charge him with second degree murder, or anything higher, without a grand jury," said Harson.

A grand jury can upgrade Bertrand's charges to first, or second, degree murder in the death of his step-daughter if they see fit. As for the lab results the DA's office is still waiting on......

"The DNA, to my knowledge, has not developed a lot of positive information. So there were no eye witnesses, and so forth, so it's pretty much a circumstantial evidence case," said Harson.

Circumstantial evidence is determined from events, or circumstances, surrounding a crime. In this case, Bertrand being found in the attic of the home where Skylar was killed fits the description.

"This is just a charge, essentially, to get us started and to hold him until we can get the grand jury convened on the 17th," said Harson. "We'll let them decide if there is enough evidence to charge him with any of the crimes."

Since the murder in AugusT, Bertrand has been in jail, but on molestation charges. Skylar filed those charges, even going as far as saying the abuse happened over most of her life. But now, without her testimony, Harson says there is little they can do to pursue those charges.

"If evidence would prove that the homicide was connected to those charges, and so forth, to the extent that the position could be taken, that he did it to remove a witness against him," said Harson. "There could be an argument made that would possibly fit into first-degree murder."

Kerry Bertrand will remain in jail on $1 million bond until the Skylar Credeur case is heard before a grand jury December 17th..

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4 months ago

UPDATE: Kerry Bertrand charged with manslaughter

The Acadia Parish man named as a person of interest in his stepdaughter's death has now been charged. Kerry Bertrand was re-booked into jail today on a manslaughter charge. The bond for the new charge is set at one million dollars.

Bertrand has been held in the Acadia Parish jail since August on six counts of violating a protective order and one count of molestation of a juvenile. Deputies say he was found hiding in his family's home the same day his step-daughter was killed. She, along with the other members of their family, had protective orders against Bertrand, and he wasn't supposed to be at the family home.

20-year-old Skylar Credeur was found dead in her bathtub in August of this year. Initially officials say the death appeared accidental because a laptop was found in the tub with her. Later when deputies found Bertrand, they named him a person-of-interest and said they'd let the District Attorney decide what charges he should face, if any. The District Attorney's office has a grand jury hearing set for later this month to discuss "homicide aspect" of the case.

As we've reported, Bertrand was out of jail the day Skylar was killed, after a bill of information wasn't filed in time on the molestation charge. Deputies had a warrant for Bertrand to be re-arrested, but he allegedly took off after being confronted at a Crowley motel. He wasn't located again until the day of Skylar's death.

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5 months ago

Mother of Skylar Credeur to get full custody of four sons

Alidia Credeur Bertrand will gain full custody of the four children she had with Kerry Bertrand during their marriage, according to the Acadia Clerk of Court's office.

She asked a mediator last week for full custody of the couple's four sons, to which the mediator agreed. In the recommendation, the mediator also proposes Kerry Bertrand not be allowed visitation rights with the minor children until his pending criminal charges are disposed of.

Bertrand is currently incarcerated in the Acadia Parish Jail on six counts of violating a protective order and one count of molestation of a juvenile. He is also a person of interest in the Aug. 21 death of his stepdaughter, Skylar Credeur, according to Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Maxine Trahan.

The mediator's recommendations were sent forward to be signed by a judge Wednesday morning. Kerry Bertrand had to file any objection to the recommendation by 4:30 Tuesday afternoon. According to the clerk's office, no objection was filed.

Fifteenth Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson says his office is still waiting for an investigative report from the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office in the Skylar Credeur murder case pending results from lab tests.

Harson says the case will be presented to a grand jury after it is received.

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5 months ago

Mother of Skylar Credeur in court for custody hearing

Alidia Credeur Bertrand was in an Acadia Parish court hearing Wednesday to gain full custody of the four children she had with Kerry Bertrand during their marriage.

Bertrand is currently incarcerated in the Acadia Parish Jail on six counts of violating a protective order and one count of molestation of a juvenile. He is also a person of interest in the Aug. 21 death of his stepdaughter, Skylar Credeur, according to Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman Maxine Trahan.

Court documents say Alidia Credeur Bertrand asked a mediator for full custody of the couple's four sons, to which the mediator agreed. In the recommendation, the mediator also proposes Bertrand not be allowed visitation rights with the minor children until the pending criminal charges are disposed of.

The mediator's recommendations are still subject to Bertrand's objection. If no objection is filed before 4:30 p.m. On Nov. 12, the recommendation will be accepted.

Bertrand was not able to appear at the hearing due to his current incarceration.

Fifteenth Judicial District Attorney Mike Harson said on Sept. 27 his office is still waiting for an investigative report from the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office in the Skylar Credeur murder case pending results from lab tests.

Harson says the case will be presented to a grand jury after it is received.

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7 months ago

UPDATE: Bertrand brought home after being released from jail

A KATC Investigation has found that the mother of a woman killed last week in Rayne asked authorities to remove the person of interest in the killing from their home eight days before the homicide.

Twenty-year-old Skylar Credeur was found dead in her bathtub on Aug. 21, and her step father, Kerry Bertrand, is the person of interest in the homicide investigation.

On Aug. 12, Kerry Bertrand was released from jail when the District Attorney waited too long to file formal charges against him in a molestation case. Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office found Bertrand walking on a highway and brought him to 140 Victor Road and his children were home, according to documents.

A few hours later, Bertrand's wife arrived home and called 911 to have him removed. Deputies took him to the Crowley Inn. The next day Credeur and Bertrnad's wife filed a restraining orders.

The family did not know he was being released from jail, according to officials, because the arresting agency, Louisiana State Police, did not file a victim notification form with the jail.

State police have said they did not know that they also did not know Bertrand was being released from jail until the victim called them and told them he went to the house.

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7 months ago

4 Days Pass Between Warrant Issued for Bertrands' Arrest, Deputies Attempt To Arrest

The investigation into the death of a 20-year-old Acadia Parish woman continues, as deputies are investigating her step father as a person of interest. Sklar Credeur was found dead in her bath tub and it was initially ruled an accident. Deputies were called back to the home when Kerry Bertrand, her step father, was found in the attic. Before Credeur was found, Bertrand had a warrant for his arrest already issued. Credeur and her mother both filed for protective orders to keep Bertrand away after he was released from jail on August 12th. Upon learning of his release, Credeur went to State Police who then got in touch with the D.A.'s office to get a warrant for his arrest for molestation of a juvenile.

The arrest warrant for Bertrand was signed on August 16th, but deputies didn't try to pick him up until August 20th. The D.A.'s office says they signed the warrant and it's up the Acadia Parish Sheriff's office to enforce it. The Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office says they didn't get the warrant until the 20th, and they attempted to enforce it immediately.

District Attorney Mike Harson says, once he and a judge signs the warrant it goes out to law enforcement.

"Usually, the investigative detective usually takes the warrant, gets it signed by the judge and then tries to execute it. Now, what happened to it after it was signed Friday, I don't have any idea," Harson said.

Acadia Parish Deputies chose not to be interviewed for this story, but say they didn't find out about the warrant until Tuesday, August 20th. That day, deputies went to the Crowley Inn, where Bertrand was staying but he ran off before he could be arrested. Skylar Credeur was murdered the next day.

It took four days to serve the warrant, but officials don't know why. Neither the D.A., nor the Sheriff's office could give KATC an answer about the gap. One thing we do know is that during those four days, deputies knew where Bertrand was staying. Deputies served him with the two protective orders.

Harson says, this attempt to arrest him could have been what led Bertrand back to where he was forbidden to go.

"Unfortunately, I feel that perhaps by trying that may have ultimately led to him reacting to it because now at first he thinks he's getting off with something or by with something. All of a sudden now he's seeing police wanting to come arrest him again. That may have set him off as well," Harson said.

Bertrand still has not been formally charged with murder, but Harson says he does intend to pursue first-degree murder charges.

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7 months ago

Newly Released Documents Map Out Police Response To Acadia Homicide

New details have been released surrounding the homicide of Skylar Credeur in her Acadia Parish home.

Credeur's stepfather, Kerry Bertrand, 43, is a person of interest in this case. He was arrested on a charge of molestation and violating five protective orders. One of those orders was filed by the victim just days before she died.

KATC's investigative team filed a series of public information requests to the Acadia Parish Sheriff's office, the 9-1-1 district, and the coroner's office.

Acciording to one report, the Acadia Parish deputy who first arrived at140 Victor Road on Aug. 21 found Credeur's mother in a "frantic stage," stating that the suspect had killed her daughter and he was inside her home.

At that point, the deputy reports he began searching the house and found Credeur's body in a bathtub. The deputy checked for a pulse but said he could not find one.

A laptop was found in the water with Credeur, which led officials to believe it could have been an accidental death.

Deputies say they did have to physically remove family members from the home when they wouldn't leave at their request. Deputies searched the home, but did not find Bertrand.

Hours later, however, someone close to the family reported to the sheriff's office that they saw someone in the attic of Credeur's home. Deputies say that's where they found Bertrand.

The Acadia Sheriff's Office says the decision whether or not to charge Bertrand may take several days. However District Attorney Mike Harson says he is pursuing a murder one charge in the case.

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7 months ago

Vigil Held for 20-year-old Skylar Lee Credeur

In Acadia Parish, it was a tough weekend for the friends and family of 20-year-old Skylar Credeur.
Credeur was found dead in her bathtub on Wednesday.
According to the D.A., initially the death looked accidental, because a laptop was found in the tub.
But her step-father, Kerry Bertrand, was later found hiding in the attic of the home.
And now he's a person of interest in the murder investigation.
Yesterday, Skylar was laid to rest, and today, friends and family gathered for a memorial vigil at Rayne High.

As family and friends filed into the Rayne High School gym, they were greeted by the smiling face of a fallen classmate.
"You got through the pictures and you see how goofy she is and you see how happy she is and it makes you smile. Then you go back and think, "She's not here anymore. You can't see that smile everyday like you used to". But it's good that our whole class could come back together to celebrate a beautiful life like hers", says classmate Destinie Verret.
Sunday served not only as a memorial, but as a celebration of Skylar Credeur's life, as well as the life of Jacob Milligan, one of her classmates who passed away back in 2011.
Attendees offered donations to help pay for the Credeur's funeral services.
2012 graduate Tyler Bonnet says, "We're just one big family, so if anyone every needs anything or anyone. We're always here for anybody and that's just how we are over here."
Those attending today's events shared tears, laughs, and prayers for a girl, who friends say, was always there to lend a hand.
"Skylar, she was a beautiful classmate. Inside and out, she loved everybody. She helped anybody with anything that they needed whether it was homework, or a little project, or just needed somebody to talk to, she was the perfect person to help you. She just loved everybody so much. I just love her, and we all miss her and love her so much", says classmate Kriston Arceneaux.
To end the ceremony, Renee Harelson, a teacher at Rayne High, read a quote from Skylar, reminding those attending that as long as they keep the 20-year-old in their thoughts, and hearts, she will never truly be gone.
"I believe in the sun, even when it's not shining. In love, even when I am alone. And in God, even when he is silent. I want you to believe she is always with you", says Harelson.

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7 months ago

Days Before Murder, Warrant Was Issued For Person Of Interest


A KATC investigation has found that just days before a young woman was murdered in Rayne, an arrest warrant was issued for her step-father, who's now considered a person of interest in her death.

That man, Kerry Bertrand has not been charged with murder, but he is behind bars on five charges of violating a protective order and one count of molestation of a juvenile. Bertrand was taken into custody Wednesday in the home along Victor Road in Rayne, where 20 year old Skylar Credeur was found dead.

The paper trail of Bertrand's initial case raises several concerns, mainly why he was even out of jail at the time of Skylar Credeur's murder.

Bertrand was arrested in May on accusations of molesting a juvenile but he was released on August 12 after his attorney filed what's called a Writ of Habeas Corpus on his behalf. Habeas Corpus is a legal action calling for a speedy trial. In that hearing, Judge Edward Rubin ordered Bertrand be released from jail, because the state never filed a Bill of Information (formal charges) in the case.

So in three months since the molestation arrest, why wasn't a Bill of Information ever filed?

When asked if someone in his office dropped the ball, District Attorney Mike Harson replied, "No, not in my opinion."

Harson says his assistant district attorney handling the case, found out about the speedy trial hearing the very day of the hearing.

The DA also says his office wasn't given enough time to compile a Bill of Information, because the arresting agency, Louisiana State Police, didn't provide the case report in a timely manner. Harson says his office received that report on Thursday, August 8.

"Cases are built and it takes time," said Trooper Stephen Hammons. "In this particular case we were contacted on [August 7th] by the DA's office and asked to provide them with a report, which we actually provided to them the very next day."

August 13th, the day after her step-father was released from jail, Skylar Credeur filed a restraining order against Kerry Bertrand. Court records show Credeur alleged her step-father was abusive, and even threatened to kill her and hide her body in a swamp.

August 16, four days after he was released from jail, the state filed the Bill of Information against Bertrand on the initial charges of molestation of a juvenile. Harson says a warrant was also issued for Bertrand's arrest. Later that day, Harson says authorities located Bertrand at a motel in Acadia Parish but when they moved in to arrest him, he ran away.

Bertrand would evade authorities for five days until Wednesday, August 21st, the day Credeur was found dead in her home.

Harson tells KATC that Credeur's death was initially thought to be an accident, because she was found dead in the bathtub with a laptop. However, after authorities left the scene family members called them back because they heard noises coming from the attic. Harson says Bertrand was found hiding in the attic and was taken into custody.

The coronor has ruled drowning as the cause of death.

Should Bertrand's case have been handled differently?

Harson says there is a procedural problem that needs to be addressed. He says judicial protocol needs to change, and if his office knew about the hearing, things could've worked out differently.

"I want to see them be simply required to follow the law," said Harson. "The law says that motion is like any other motion, it should be filed and served upon us and a date set so we have an opportunity to present evidence if necessary to the court to show a justifiable reason for the delay in filing the charge."

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7 months ago

20-Year-Old College Student Dead, Step-Father Person Of Interest

The step-father of a murdered college student is in jail, and named a person of interest in her death.

The body of 20-year-old Skylar Credeur was found by family members yesterday afternoon in her home in Rayne. Her death was first called suspicious, but then classified as murder. The coroner said today he believes the cause of her death was drowning.

Credeur was a 2011 graduate of Rayne High School, and was currently a student at UL. Following her death, deputies arrested Credeur's step-father Kerry Bertrand as a person of interest.

According to court documents, Credeur said she had been threatened by her step-father in the past, saying in court documents "He threatened to kill me and hide my body in a swamp."

Back on August 13th, Credeur filed a restraining order against her step-father the day after he was released from jail. He was in jail on molestation charges, and his release was due to paperwork not being filed in a timely manner.

Credeur's restraining order was granted, and then her mother's was granted two days later, ordering Bertrand to stay away from their Rayne home, and the other four children as well.

"We did conduct an investigation involving Bertrand earlier this year. May 31st of this year Louisiana State Police did place him under arrest for child molestation. He subsequently was booked into the Acadia Parish Jail," Trooper Stephen Hammons said.

In court documents, Skylar says he went to their family home the night he was released and made threats, which led her to seek court protection from him.

Then last week, formal charges were drawn up by the DA's office, and deputies went out to serve the warrant and bring Bertrand back to jail.

The District Attorney's office says when they found Bertrand at the motel he was staying at, he took off running. Skylar was murdered five days later.

Bertrand is now back in the Acadia Parish jail, although not formally charged with the murder. Deputies say he's only a person of interest. In regards to his arrest, he's being held for allegedly violating all five of the protective orders against him, as well as the molestation charge.

Friends and former classmates of Credeur are planning a memorial service for her on Suday at Rayne High School's gym at 2 p.m.

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7 months ago

Funeral service planned for Skylar Lee Credeur

Funeral services will be held at St. Edmund Catholic Church, Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm for Skylar Lee Credeur, 20, who died August 21, 2013 at her residence.

Interment will be in the St. Edmund Cemetery in Branch, LA.

Surviving are mother, Alidia Credeur Bertrand, sister, Taylor Bertrand, brother, Even Bertrand, brother, Blake Bertrand, brother, Drake "Kaboose" Bertrand, grandparents, Joyce and Victor Credeur, High School Sweet Heart/Boyfriend, Bryar Babineaux, aunt, Amie Jeannson and husband Carl, aunt, Addie Rose Carpenter, aunt, Sally Stelly and husband Mark, aunt, Peggy Ann Williams and husband Charles, aunt, Betty Lepine and husband Freddie, aunt, Rosae Murphy and husband Jerry, uncle, Richard Carpenter and wife Tammy, uncle, Joseph Credeur and wife Connie, uncle, Ricky Credeur and wife Shelly, uncle, Edmond Credeur and wife Cathy, uncle, John Ray Credeur and wife Pricilla.

She was preceded in death by aunt, Agnes Ardoin, aunt, Judy Carpenter, uncle, J.R. Carpenter, uncle, Randy Carpenter.

She was born in Crowley, LA, daughter of and Alidia Credeur Bertrand .

A rosary will be recited Friday, August 23, 2013 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. at Gossen Funeral Home in Rayne, LA.

Friends will be received at Gossen Funeral Home, Inc., Rayne, LA Friday, August 23, 2013 from 11:00 am until Saturday, August 24, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

In Lieu of flowers the family has set up a Benefit Account in Skylar's name at Midsouth Bank to help cover funeral expenses.

Friends may view the obituary and guestbook online at www.gossenfuneralhome.net.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Gossen Funeral Home, Inc. of Rayne, LA, (337) 334-3141.

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7 months ago

Murder victim identified; Step-father named as "person-of-interest"

Deputies in Acadia Parish have identified the victim in Wednesday's homicide as 20-year-old Skylar Credeur of Rayne.

The cause of death has been classified as a drowning.

According to Sheriff Wayne Melancon, Credeur's stepfather, 43-year-old Kerry Wayne Bertrand, has been named a person of interest. Bertrand is in the Acadia Parish Jail charged with 5 counts of violation of a protective order, and his bond is set at $450,000.

The sheriff adds the family of Skylar Credeur is asking for the public's assistance. An account has been set up for funeral expenses and donations can be made at all Mid South Banks.

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7 months ago

Suspect in Acadia homicide charged with molestation, violating protective order

A Rayne man is being questioned by Acadia Parish sheriff's deputies in connection with the murder of a 20-year old woman.

KATC has learned that the suspect is Kerry Bertrand. Although Bertrand has been questioned, he has not been charged in connection with the woman's death.

Bertrand's connection to the victim is still unknown.

His last known address is the same home on Victor Road in Rayne where the woman was found dead this afternoon.

Bertrand was booked into the Acadia Parish Jail on one count of molestation of a juvenile and five counts of violation of a protective order.

The victim's identity has not yet been released. An autopsy on her body has been scheduled.

Deputies responded to the Victor Road home just before noon Wednesday after one of the victim's relatives reported the death.

Officials said that, as a precaution, they put Branch Elementary School and Rayne High School on lockdown. Deputies later said that the victim was related to people who were on those campuses.

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7 months ago

20-year-old woman's death called suspicious

A 20-year-old female is dead, and the Acadia Parish Sheriff's Office is saying her death is suspicious. The woman's body was found at a home on Victor Drive this afternoon, and two schools were put on lockdown as a result.

Initially, deputies said they were responding to a shooting, and the schools were put on lockdown because the deceased had relatives at both schools. The Sheriff's Office says because they weren't sure what happened, they wanted to lockdown the schools as a precaution, and they also wanted to make sure they were able to get to the relatives first to tell them what happened.

Deputies say an autopsy will be done on the woman's body by the Calcasieu coroner. No other details about the cause of death will be released until the autopsy is complete.

Deputies are not searching for a suspect at this time.

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