Family 'distraught' and 'in shock' after murder of massage therapist in Livingston Parish; suspect arrested
DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - A massage therapist who advertised online was found dead Tuesday near a home where she had arrived for a job.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office reported Christopher Landry, 25, of Denham Springs, is charged with murder in the death of Kayla Ann Denham, 24, of Baton Rouge.
Detectives say Denham went to meet a client on Dunn Rd. in Denham Springs around 5 a.m. Monday. They added friends and family got worried after she didn't return home and didn't answer her cellphone.
Sheriff Jason Ard says Denham told her boyfriend the address of where she was meeting the client. He added when her boyfriend couldn't get in touch with her, he went to that address, but did not see her car. However, Ard says the boyfriend drove around the area again about 12 hours later and spotted a gravel road near the home. He added the road led to a wooded area, which is where the boyfriend saw her car. According to Ard, Denham's boyfriend contacted sheriff's deputies Monday between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.
Ard says several suspects were questioned, a search warrant was obtained, and Denham's body was found on the property. He also says the investigation led detectives to establish Landry as a person of interest. He added Landry has cooperated with investigators. He also says the coroner has not yet released the cause of death.
Michelle Gilliam, the victim's cousin, is acting as a representative for the family. She says the family is too distraught to do an interview, but she sent in the following statement:
We are in shock about the loss of our beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, and friend. Kayla was a wonderful young woman who always shared a beautiful smile on her face and love in her heart. She will be greatly missed, and we ask for privacy during this very difficult period of mourning for the family.
Many friends and family have been paying tribute to Denham on Facebook, including her brother, Seth Denham. According to her Facebook page, she attended Dutchtown High School and graduated in 2011.
According to records, Landry does not live at the address where Denham's body was found.
"As you can imagine, this is an ongoing investigation," Ard said in a written release. "There are still a lot of questions that we need to answer. We are working with the LSP Crime Lab and the Livingston Parish Coroner's Office to learn as much as possible as we continue to piece this case together."
Landry was booked into the Livingston Parish Detention Center on charges of second degree murder and obstruction of justice. Ard says the charges could change depending on the results of the autopsy.
Bond has been set at $175,000.
Ard added Landry has no history of violent or sexually related crimes from what detectives have gathered, but he does have misdemeanor drug charges on his arrest record.
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