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Man in custody accused of kidnapping, murder of Baton Rouge couple
BATON ROUGE - Police said in a Wednesday morning press conference that law enforcement has a man in custody accused of kidnapping and strangling a Baton Rouge couple to death.
Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said 42-year-old Ernesto Llerena Alonso, of Baton Rouge, was found in South Florida after he was accused of kidnapping and strangling the couple that employed him as a handyman. Local law enforcement flew to Miami to take Alonso into custody Tuesday night.
Alonso was booked into jail in Florida Tuesday. His mugshot is attached to this story.
BRPD officers responded to 5020 Highland Road on Monday just after 10 p.m. to perform a welfare check. When officers arrived on the scene, they were unable to locate anyone at the residence. Police said a door was open and a safe was found open inside the house. A police news release indicates that a large amount of money was reportedly taken from the victims, and a pickup truck was also missing from the scene.
Police said they used OnStar to track down the truck which was found in a parking lot at 2100 SW Railroad Avenue in Hammond. Hammond Police responded to the scene to find 71-year-old Denis and 70-year-old Suzanne Duplantier dead inside of the vehicle.
Detectives received information that a possible suspect had fled the scene and headed toward Miami in a white Chevrolet pickup truck. Images of that vehicle were released Tuesday evening. Detectives said they flew from Baton Rouge to Miami late Tuesday night where Alonso was apprehended without incident early Wednesday morning. The pickup truck was later recovered.
Alonso will be extradited back to Baton Rouge to face charges of first-degree murder (two counts) and second-degree kidnapping (two counts), according DA Hillar Moore.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Alonso was still being questioned by police in Hollywood, Florida, and he has not been booked into jail yet. A release from the Hollywood PD is expected Wednesday evening.
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.
Neighbors described the Duplantiers' as the "absolute best neighbors" and pointed out that there was a significant amount of surveillance cameras set up around the neighborhood. Those cameras were instrumental in capturing footage of the suspect's truck in the area around the scene of the crime. A family friend told News 2 on Tuesday that Denis Duplantier was a kind-hearted, great man whose murder is devastating.
The entire 11 a.m. press conference with law enforcement can be viewed by clicking here.
Tune in to News 2 broadcasts at 4, 5 and 6 this evening for the latest.
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