LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Most of the items stolen from the home of a man found dead near Sulphur Tuesday have been recovered at a home in Welsh, authorities say.
The body of Steven Woodruff, 58, was found at the intersection of W. Burton Street and Stegal Road Tuesday, Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats said at a joint news conference Wednesday morning.
Woodruff was reporting missing Monday night after his home on Kim Street was found amiss and he could not be located.
Blaine Daniel Kennedy, 21, of Welsh, has been arrested in his death. Kennedy, who does not have a history of violent crime, faces counts of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary and felony theft.
Most of the stolen items were found at Kennedy’s home, Mancuso said.
Kennedy and Woodruff are believed to be distant cousins, Coats said.
Coats and Mancuso said Woodruff was not involved in any criminal activity.
“This guy was just a hard-working man,” Coats said. “He doesn’t have a criminal record. He was a victim of circumstance, I guess.”
A father and son have been arrested on one count each of accessory after the fact: Clifton Bergeaux Jr., 49, of Welsh, and SirMalachi Bergeaux, 21, of Welsh. SirMalachi Bergeaux does not have a prior criminal record.
“We know they necessarily didn’t participate in the crime, but they helped him get away, in a sense, and get from one location to another," Coats said, adding that the Bergeauxs did so knowing Kennedy had committed a crime.
Coats asked anyone with information about the Bergeauxs' suspected involvement to call the Sulphur Police Department or the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office.
Sulphur police began investigating just before midnight Monday after one of Woodruff’s children returned to the home in the 1100 block of Kim Street to find him and items from the home missing.
“It was in disarray, things were out of place, things were missing,” Coats said.
Woodruff’s vehicle was also reported missing, but was found Wednesday morning in Evangeline Parish.
Mancuso said authorities aren’t releasing what items were stolen or Woodruff’s manner of death yet because the case is still under investigation.
Both Mancuso and Coats said they did not know if more arrests will be made, but Coats did issue a warning to anyone who may have been involved:
“I can ssure you, If we find out that somebody is harboring information or has evidence that they are holding, we will find out and we will come and we will kick your door in and we will take you to jail,” Coats said. “That is a promise from Lewis Coats and Sheriff Tony Mancuso.”
While the incident is a Sulphur Police Department case, it was handled jointly with the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office to avoid jurisdictional issues since authorities were unsure where Woodruff was killed.
- Blaine Daniel Kennedy, 21: First-degree murder, aggravated burglary and felony theft. Bond: $1.3 million.
- Clifton Bergeaux Jr., 49, of Welsh: Accessory after the fact. Bond: $350,000.
- SirMalachi Bergeaux, 21, of Welsh: Accessory after the fact. Bond: $25,000.