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Police recover large amount of cash after arrest in Duplantier murder case

Ernesto Alonso (Source: Broward Sheriff's Office) Ernesto Alonso (Source: Broward Sheriff's Office)
Denis and Suzanne Duplantier (Source: Facebook) Denis and Suzanne Duplantier (Source: Facebook)
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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

An arrest warrant connected to the murders of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier says a large amount of cash was taken from their home and the couple was likely beaten until they allowed entry into their safe.

Baton Rouge Police officials say a large amount of money was recovered by BRPD after the arrest of the murder suspect.

The new details come just hours after a news conference was held to announce the arrest of a man who is accused of strangling a Baton Rouge couple.

The suspect has been identified as Ernesto Alonso, 42, of Baton Rouge. Investigators said he was caught in Miami early Wednesday morning. 

He was a handy man for 71-year-old Denis Duplantier and 70-year-old Suzanne Duplantier, police say. He was staying on their property and was sometimes an employee of the victims, according to the arrest warrant for Alonzo.

Family of the Duplantiers say they last spoke to the couple on Sunday, October 18, 2015 around 1:30 p.m. On Monday night, Baton Rouge Police were called after the Duplantier's children say they could not get in touch with their parents. They told police their parents were not at home, the house was left open, and a large amount of money had been taken. Their father's pickup truck was also missing, according to the warrant.

The arrest warrant states during a search of the Duplantier's home, blood was found in multiple rooms, "consistent with a physical confrontation."

After investigators used OnStar to track Denis Duplantier's missing truck, they found the couple's bodies in the backseat of a pickup truck that was parked at a Petro gas station in Hammond, LA. Surveillance video shows the pickup being parked and a suspect police believe to be Alonzo, get out and into another vehicle that had an accomplice inside.

The investigation revealed the victims were bound and beaten by the suspect until he gained entry into the couple's safe, where he obtained a large amount of money, according the warrant. The suspect is then accused of strangling Denis and Suzanne before driving to Hammond where the bodies were left.

When Alonzo was arrested, the warrant states "items consistent with those used in the homicide were located," when his property was searched. 

Evidence from the Duplantier's home was also collected and led officials to believe Alonzo to be the prime suspect, according to the warrant.

Last night, investigators from the Baton Rouge Police Department, Hammond Police Department, Louisiana State Police and District Attorney's office flew to Miami, Florida, with the assistance of the Hollywood, Florida Police Department and were able to arrest Ernesto Alonso around 8 a.m.," Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said. "The white Chevy pickup truck was at the scene and has been recovered and is in the process of the investigation." 

"This is the perfect example of what all agencies working together for one common cause can accomplish," East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said.

Authorities added Alonso will be extradited back to Baton Rouge and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree kidnapping. Investigators are still looking for a possible accomplice.

"He will face charges in Baton Rouge," District Attorney Hillar Moore said. "Obviously, with the nature of the charges, this will be a grand jury matter that will eventually be presented to the grand jury. These officers will continue to work the case, find out and develop any other information or any other leads and evidence that may come along and this matter will be presented to the grand jury in due course."

Moore also said this case will strongly be considered for a death penalty.

"It fits it on all the criteria, not only statutory, but by the egregious nature of the facts and how people were brutalized. This is a bad case," he stated.

Moore also says, "This is one that was planned. This is one that was sadistic in the treatment of these two fine people."

The investigation is ongoing.

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