HAMMOND, LA (WAFB) - A missing Baton Rouge couple was found dead in the backseat of a pickup truck at a truck stop near I-12 in Hammond, according to police. Police say the two victims, both in their 70s, have been identified as Denis and Suzanne Duplantier.
Officials say the initial autopsy reveals the Duplantiers were strangled, however officials with the Hammond Police Department say they don't know where the crime took place.
Officials are searching for a white 2007 Chevrolet truck with license plate number C287533. They are looking for two people of interest in the case.
Around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, family members spoke to the couple. That is the last time they heard from them. Monday night, around 11 p.m., family members called the police for a welfare check when the couple could not be reached.
Police say it appears the couple was kidnapped from their home in Baton Rouge. Police believe the victims were driven to Hammond on Sunday. It is believed that the victims possibly knew the suspect as there was no forced entry in the home. Police have the identity of the two people wanted for questioning, but are not releasing the names at this time.
The Baton Rouge Police Department confirmed the two bodies were found at the Petro truck stop on Southwest Railroad Avenue. Investigators said the couple could have gone missing Sunday. The truck in which the victims were found is believed to have been parked at the stop sometime Sunday afternoon.
"They saw both trucks come into the Petro," said Hammond Police Chief Roddy Devall about surveillance video at the truck stop. "The victim's truck was first, followed by the white truck. They were there about 10 minutes. We see the white truck leave and of course the red truck wasn't found until later."
Police in Baton Rouge said they received a call around 10:15 p.m. Monday to make a welfare check at a home on Highland Road near Lee Drive. Responding officers reported finding the house open. They added the homeowners and their vehicle were missing.
"Investigators at that point called OnStar about the missing vehicle and OnStar was able to give them a location," said Lt. Jonny Dunnam, a spokesman for BRPD. "That location was in Hammond. They contacted Hammond police and Hammond police went to the scene, where the vehicle was located and they have since taken over the investigation."
Investigators with BRPD said there was no sign of a struggle in the home. Police sources said the safe inside was open.
Louisiana State Police reported troopers responded to the truck stop and assisted Hammond police officers. Lt. J.B. Slaton with LSP said the scene was cleared early Tuesday morning.
The investigation is ongoing. This is the first homicide case of the year for Hammond.
"It's just something you don't want to see. You never want to see anyone who has gone through a horrendous death like this. It is just something we have to deal with in our profession. It is not something we look forward to and we hope we can bring closure for the family the weeks or days to come," said Chief Roddy Devall with the Hammond Police Department.
"People need to understand, this is unusual where we are, however this is the same scenario that's carried out every day all over our parish in different areas of our city and this one hits here now because it's here," said District Attorney Hillar Moore. "But we have to recognize this happens all over our parish and people ought to be outraged and indignant for every homicide, just not a select few."
If you have any information on this crime, you are urged to call 911 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.
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