MUGSHOT: Niece arrested for stealing car connected to homicide

MUGSHOT: Niece arrested for stealing car connected to homicide

SLIDELL, LA (WVUE) - The Slidell Police Department responded to 1005 Paige Court in reference to a welfare check due to the fact a concerned family member had not seen or heard from her sister for several days.

Upon entering the residence, officers located a female body, which appeared to have unusual injuries. The victim's vehicle was also missing from the residence. Slidell Police crime scene investigators and the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office processed the crime scene and determined that the body had multiple stab wounds.

This morning, St. Tammany Parish Coroner, Dr. Charles Preston, identified the victim as 65-year-old, Dianne Bercy. Dr. Preston ruled the manner of death to be a homicide and the cause of death to be multiple stab wounds.

Slidell Police investigators have identified a person of interest in this case as 39-year-old, Kenya Despenza, who is the niece of the victim. Despenza was found to be in possession of the victim's stolen vehicle, and has since been arrested for Theft of a Motor Vehicle and also an unrelated Failure to Appear attachment.

Residents say the usually quiet subdivision was packed with police units Monday afternoon.

"I've been in the back all that time. So I come to the front, man everything's caution taped off, police cars everywhere, police cars everywhere, I'm like wow, I never heard anything, I never heard police cars," Chuck Messina said.

"For Slidell, it's very startling. We're in a very quiet city, and it's a homicide, it's our first one of the year, hopefully the last one of the year," Slidell Police Chief Randy Fandal said.

Despenza was arrested in 2016 by NOPD for stabbing her father.

The investigation is still on-going. No arrest has been made in reference to the homicide; however, investigators are very confident an arrest will be made in the upcoming days as soon as certain pieces of evidence are finished being forensically processed.

More details will be release as soon they become available.

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