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ST. HELENA PARISH, LA (WAFB) -
The first murder in four years in St. Helena Parish has left people shocked.
John Nelson Hornsby, 74, was found dead outside his home in a rural part of St. Helena Parish, but the way he was killed has investigators appalled and looking for the person or persons responsible.
Lingering crime scene tape, decor turned debris and what was once a home is now a pile of rubble.
Around 10 a.m. Tuesday, the mail carrier made a gruesome discovery.
"This is where Mr. Hornsby was lying in this area right here," said St. Helena Sheriff's Detective Joe Chaney pointing out the exact location.
Chaney said someone robbed Hornsby of some weapons, beat him, left him for dead outside his own home and then set his house on fire overnight Monday.
"It is really unreal to see a crime of this nature," said Chaney.
"I'm appalled and disgusted. Unbelievable that something like this could happen to a man like my father," said Hornsby's daughter Rene.
Rene said she grew up in what once was a loving home. After her mother passed away, Rene said her father lived alone. He's a man many in St. Helena Parish knew very well. The daughter calls him "The most perfect father and grandfather."
"You better rue the day because it's coming back to you tenfold. He was treated like no human being should be treated," said Rene.
They're words echoed by Hornsby's grandchildren as well.
"It's just sick and twisted to think someone can do that to a human being like he was a dog," said Joniele Fairburn, Hornsby's grand-daughter.
As Rene tries to accept reality, her son is begging people for answers, and possibly some closure.
"If you have any information, anything you can do to help us, please, my grandfather did not deserve this. My family did not deserve this," said Jace Fairburn, Hornsby's grandson.
Anyone with information is asked to call the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office at 1-800-200-4905 or Crime Stoppers 344-STOP.