Police are searching for a man who may have fled the state after they found a Louisiana couple killed in a “heinous” way inside their Denham Springs pool company on Tuesday.
The Advocate reports Eugene “Frank” Gurley, 72, and his wife, Patricia Gurley, 70, were found brutally murdered at their pool business, National Pool Builders, off of Pete’s Highway in Denham Springs, a little after midnight on October 31. Police arrived to check on the couple after receiving a welfare call on Tuesday night. According to Denham Springs Police Chief Shannon Womack, both victims were found inside the business, deceased.
During a Wednesday press conference, Womack stated that the killings were the most “senseless and heinous” that he’s seen in his career. He also announced authorities are looking for 45-year-old Michael T. Collins, who also may have the couple’s white 2016 Nissan Frontier pickup truck, with Louisiana license plate number, Y193507. Investigators have reason to believe that Collins may have left the state.
“This is the most senseless and heinous crime I’ve handled in all my years of law enforcement,” Womack said.
At this time, Collins is being sought for burglary but he’s also a person of interest in the killings.
An anonymous source close to the investigation who can’t speak publicly about the investigation reportedly told the outlet that the couple died from blunt force trauma.
Collins apparently began living at the a lot next to the couple’s business in 2016. A neighbor recently said that someone named “Mike” lived in a camper on the business property. Outside of the camper stood a clothesline with clothes still hanging on it. Another neighbor, Pam Landry, who lives behind the business, told The Advocate that her son was worried about the person living on the business property and didn’t trust him.
Steven Westbrooks, who started working for Frank Gurley over the summer, said he called the victim “at least 40 times” on Tuesday after Frank didn’t show up for a pool job. He also added that he thought Mike was on drugs and that something was wrong with him, although he wasn’t sure.
“Me and Frank both thought he was on drugs. We thought something was wrong, we didn’t know.”
According to The Livingston Parish, Frank Gurley was a retired teacher who once worked at Denham Springs High School and Denham Springs Junior High School. He retired in 2011.
“They were very good people,” Womack said during the press conference. “That’s the sad thing about being a police officer in a small town … and as much as our city has grown, we still know a lot of people, especially longtime residents. It all hits home really hard.”
The story is still developing. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Frank and Patricia Gurley, Michael T. Collins/Facebook, police handout]