Elderly couple’s deaths appear to be ‘targeted act’
LACASSINE — Authorities are investigating a double homicide after finding the bodies of an elderly Lacassine couple in their bedroom Sunday.
The couple, Walter Joseph Gotreaux, 72, and his wife, Darlene Cecelia Gotreaux, 70, were found dead in their home on U.S. 90, just west of Lacassine, after deputies went to the residence to check on them after receiving a welfare concern from a neighbor.
"Our hearts go out to the family," Sheriff Ivy Woods said during a press conference Monday. "There’s people in this world that do very vicious acts and we’re going to try our best to put those people in jail."
Woods calmed the community’s fears saying that no one else in the community has reason for worry.
The murders appeared to have been a "targeted act" toward the Gotreaux family, he said.
"The community is nervous," he said. "It’s a very quiet community and it’s not every day you have a double homicide. They are calling with concerns and we are going to try to help them out with everything we can."
He urged residents to go about their daily activities. He said investigators were following every lead possible and interviewing those who knew the couple.
Authorities are not offering any information on how or when the couple may have been killed citing an ongoing investigation.
The couple was last seen alive early Sunday morning by a farmhand who had driven them to Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Lake Charles for Eucharistic Adoration because Walter Gotreaux was not feeling well, Woods said.
The farmhand, who lives nearby, told authorities he had dropped the couple off at home some time around 2 a.m. after they returned home from church. He said he helped the couple inside and left, but told authorities everything appeared fine at that time.
The farmhand contacted the Sheriff’s Office around 3 p.m. Sunday after he could not contact Mr. Gotreaux, Woods said.
"Mr. Gotreaux has a neighbor that works with him helping him feeding the cattle and everyday little chores and Mr. Gotreaux wasn’t answering the phone and he tried several times, so he got nervous and called 911," Woods said. "We went out and surveyed the property and seen that the door was kicked in and we went in and discovered them."
As of a 1 p.m. press conference Monday, authorities said they are uncertain if anything is missing from the residence because it had not been released to the family as it was still considered an investigative crime scene. There was no obvious sign of a struggle inside the home, Woods said.
Chief Deputy Chris Ivey said the Calcasieu Parish Forensic Investigative Unit from the crime lab and Jeff Davis Parish detectives worked through the night Sunday gathering evidence at the scene and interviewing persons who knew the victims.
Mr. Gotreaux is an insurance salesman, who also raises cattle, horses and mules in the Lacassine area. He is the former president of the Cajun French Music Association Lake Charles chapter.
He and his wife were well-known and liked in the community where they were active in school and church gatherings, the Optimist Club and the Cajun French Music Association. This is the second murder in Lacassine this year.
In June, the body of Victor Paul Martin, 33, was found behind a log on a dirt road in a wooded area near his home on Melanson Road, just south of U.S. 90 in Lacassine. Authorities said he had been fatally shot at his residence and his body moved.
Matthew Clement Markwood, 33, of Lake Charles was later arrested on second-degree murder charge, obstruction of justice and aggravated battery in connection with Martin’s death.
Anyone who may have seen anything, or may have a security camera showing the highway near the victims’ home, is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 337-824-3850.