MAUREPAS, LA (WAFB) - Autopsy results have been released for a 19-year-old woman found dead in Maurepas on Mardi Gras Day.
The autopsy from the Livingston Parish Coroner's Office reveals the woman, Emily Rodgers of Ponchatoula, died from blunt force injuries.
"This is very devastating for the Maurepas community and to our parish. I am grateful that we were able to make the proper arrests. We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Emily Rodgers' death. We feel that we have a strong case for prosecution to give this family some peace. The family and loved ones of Emily Rodgers are in our thoughts and prayers," said Sheriff Jason Ard.
Three men have been arrested in connection with the case.
LPSO reports John Cowart, 35, Justin Scivicque, 33, and Derek Williford, 28, were taken into custody after Rodgers' body was found on Tuesday around noon. It's believed Cowart killed Rodgers. The other two men are accused of helping hide the fact Rodgers had been killed.
Cowart was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on charges of second degree murder and obstruction of justice. Scivicque is charged with principal to second degree murder. Williford is facing charges of accessory after the fact to second degree murder and obstruction of justice.
Officials say the bond for all three men arrested has been increased to $300,000.
Ard says his deputies initially started investigating the case after Rodgers was reported missing on February 9. He added as detectives began looking into it, "foul play was immediately suspected because of conflicting stories from those close to the investigation."
"This was a nonstop, 48-hour type deal once we realized this is not just a missing person, this is not just a runaway," Ard said
According to Ard, investigators learned Rodgers had been living in the Maurepas area and that some people knew more about what happened to her than they were telling detectives. "When you question this one, you go over there, this one contradicts this one's story," he said.
Ard stated a witness was able to give detectives details about the final hours of the young woman's life and led them to the location of her body, which was discovered in a wooded area off Catfish Landing Road in Maurepas.
Ard says the three suspects appear to know each other. The investigation is ongoing and the sheriff's office is interviewing more people.
Anyone with more information in the case is asked to call LPSO at 225-686-2241 x1 or call Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.