Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Search for missing man attracts national attention; causes concerns about safety in Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE - A near-two-week search ended early Monday morning when police found the body of a missing man from Georgia in a shed behind a defunct funeral home.

The building at 2929 Scenic Highway is three miles away from Happy's Irish Pub where Millard was last seen Feb. 22. Details about Millard's death are still pending as the investigation is ongoing.

“It’s still open-ended. We have to wait until we get the autopsy back and from there we’ll proceed in whatever direction we’re going to go in. Now there are certain things surrounding this investigation that are suspicious in nature, so that’s why I’m saying it’s still ongoing," BRPD Sgt. L'Jean McKneely said.

Millard’s disappearance from Downtown Baton Rouge made national headlines, putting the safety of the city in the spotlight. Public relations expert Mary-Patricia Wray says incidents like this may impact tourism and growth.

"Whenever we have a high-profile crime that gets national attentionregardless of who the victim is, regardless of who the survivors are—when major industries notice they always have a reaction. Sometimes that reaction is to pass a bill that they don't think is fair to everyone in our state, and sometimes it's a reaction to pull business out of the state or to roll back plans to expand business to Louisiana. Frankly, we can't have anything hurting our reputation," Wray said.

Wray said that Louisiana has regained over 4,600 jobs to reach pre-pandemic levels. Tourism generates $1.3 billion worth of revenue for the state, but deaths can be a threat to Louisiana's economy.

“If we don’t project a better image to the rest of the country and the rest of the world, it makes it harder to continue those gains we’ve recently seen," Wray said.

The coroner's office is expected to release the results of a preliminary autopsy Tuesday.


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