Possible Murder-Suicide Investigated in West Baton Rouge

Published: Jun. 28, 2007 at 4:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 4, 2007 at 12:29 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

West Baton Rouge sheriff's detectives have an apparent case of murder-suicide on their hands. Thursday morning, a security officer discovered 43-year-old Keith Woodside and his girlfriend, 36-year-old Melinda Gardner, dead in the cab of an 18-wheeler that was parked in Port Allen, just off Highway 190, near the foot of the old bridge. That officer tells WAFB's Cheryl Mercedes he first became suspicious three days ago.

A truck parked on the side of the road is not something that would make many people suspicious, but one long-time security guard, who did not want to be on camera, says he's got an eye for this sort of thing. He says he knew something was up three days ago. He says, "It had been idling a long period of time." The guard tells us the truck had been running for two days straight. Thursday morning, the baby blue-colored 18-wheeler really got his attention. He says it was just too quiet. He says, "When the vehicle was no longer running, I started banging on the door. Then, there was a peculiar odor, and I mean a peculiar odor."

When he opened the door, he saw a man and woman lying dead in sleeper section of the cab. He says he called his boss, who told him to call the sheriff's office. Minutes later, the quiet scene was flooded with crime investigators. Sheriff's detectives tell us they found a revolver, Keith Woodside and Melinda Gardner. The couple had been shot to death inside. They also found what was perhaps the key piece of evidence in this case, a suicide note that they believe was written by Woodside.

Detective Charles Hotard tells 9NEWS that Woodside's mother told deputies she last spoke with her son on Monday, when he told her he was "chillin' in Port Allen with his girlfriend" of five years.

Reporter:  Cheryl Mercedes, WAFB 9NEWS