Authorities: human remains believed to be missing Rosepine man - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Authorities: human remains believed to be missing Rosepine man

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James N. Stephens, top, and his father Ricky Stephens (Source: Monica Grimaldo/KPLC) James N. Stephens, top, and his father Ricky Stephens (Source: Monica Grimaldo/KPLC)
Jose Israel Ayala III. (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office) Jose Israel Ayala III. (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)
Cassandra Ward. (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office) Cassandra Ward. (Source: Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office)
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The Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office has arrested two suspects, following the discovery of what are believed to be the remains of a missing Rosepine man.

Thirty-one-year-old James N. Stephens was last seen on March 29. KPLC previously spoke to Stephens' family during their emotional search for him.

The Vernon Sheriff's Office, with assistance from cadaver dogs and the Klaas Kids Foundation search team, has located human remains near Hwy 1211 in Vernon Parish.

"We would like to express our thanks and gratitude to VPSO and to Klass Kids, (who assisted in the search)," said Teresa McConathy, a friend of the Stevens family. "We're saddened and devastated... I haven't seen his mother yet, but I know they're grieving, because they lost their child."

Following a three-month investigation by authorities into the disappearance of Stephens, 24-year-old Jose Israel Ayala III and 22-year-old Cassandra Ward, both of Leesville, have been arrested and charged with one count each of second-degree murder.

Ayala was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail with his bond set at $250,000.

Ward was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail with her bond set at $200,000.

The investigation remains ongoing.

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