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Accused Duplantier killer has first appearance before judge

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FT. LAUDERDALE - The man accused of kidnapping and murdering a Baton Rouge couple had his initial court appearance in Florida early Thursday morning as he awaits extradition proceedings.

A judge said 42-year-old Ernesto Llerena Alonso of Baton Rouge would be held with no bond pending extradition back to Louisiana, where he faces murder charges in the deaths of 71-year-old Denis and 70-year-old Suzanne Duplantier. East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore said he has reached out to Florida authorities in case Alonso fights extradition.

Investigators said Alonso, a handyman who lived on the Duplantier's property, kidnapped the couple on Monday night after stealing money from their safe. Police said surveillance video recorded Alonso's pickup driving close behind the Duplantier's vehicle as they left the neighborhood, and OnStar later tracked the Duplantier's vehicle to Hammond where the couple's bodies were found. Police said they had been strangled and left bound inside their vehicle.

Authorities said on Wednesday that Alonso was later located in south Florida. Detectives flew to Miami to interview him before Alonso was booked into jail as a fugitive from Louisiana, where he faces first-degree murder and kidnapping charges.

Police said they are still looking for "one or more" suspect or suspects in the Duplantier killing. Anyone with information related to the crime is urged to contact the BRPD Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869.

Baton Rouge Police confirmed Thursday that some people had come forward with additional information about the killings, and that detectives were interviewing them. News 2 will have live coverage of developments in the case throughout the day.

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