The Murders of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier

A Community is Shaken When a Couple With Deep Roots to Baton Rouge are Murdered

Ernesto Llerena Alonso
Ernesto Llerena Alonso. Mug Shot

On Oct. 19, 2015, the beaten, bound and strangled bodies of an elderly Baton Rouge, Louisiana couple were found in the backseat of their pickup truck parked at a truck stop nearly 45 miles from the couple's home.

Denis "Bubbie" Duplantier, 71, and Suzanne "Suzy" Duplantier, 70, were found in their truck parked in a remote area of the Petro truck stop in Hammond, Louisiana.

By the following day, one of two suspects had been caught in south Florida.

He was a handyman for the Duplantiers and lived in the back of their property for at least five years.

Landscaper Arrested for Baton Rouge Murders

Oct. 21, 2015 - A landscaper who worked for a well-known Baton Rouge couple has been arrested in connection with their deaths. Police said Ernesto Llerna Alonso killed Denis "Bubbie" Duplantier, 71, and Suzanne "Suzy" Duplantier, 70, while robbing them of a large sum of money.

Two days after the Duplantiers' bodies were found in the back seat of their pickup truck in a remote section of a truck stop in Hammond, Louisiana, a SWAT team arrested Alonso near Miami with a large amount of cash.

According to police reports and court documents, here is a time line of events in the Duplantier case:

At 10:15 p.m. on October 19, the Baton Rouge police were called by a family member of Bubbie and Suzy Duplantier, requesting a welfare check be done at the couple's Highland Road home.

Family members had grown concerned when the couple failed to answer their phone since their last known conversation which was Sunday at 1 p.m.

According to the police, when they arrived to the home they found the front door opened, the door to a safe opened, and no sign of Bubbie and Suzy Duplantier or their red pickup truck.

Utilizing OnStar GPS tracking system, the Duplantier's pickup truck was tracked about 45 miles away, at the Petro truck stop in Hammond, Louisiana.

The Hammond police were contacted and at 11 p.m. Monday, they located the truck which was parked in a remote area of the parking lot. 

Inside, in the back seat were the bodies of Denis Duplantier, 71, and his wife Suzanne Duplantier, 70. According to the Hammond police, the couple had been strangled to death.

On Tuesday the police reviewed surveillance video taken of the truck stop parking lot. 

It showed two vehicles drive up, one being the Duplantier's red truck followed by a white 2007 Chevrolet two-door pickup with the Louisiana license plate C287533. The trucks were driven by two persons of interest - one of who the police believed knew the Duplantiers.

On Wednesday, October 21, the arrest of Ernesto Llerena Alonso, 42, in Hollywood, Florida was announced during a news conference. Also found was the white truck in question and a large amount of what authorities believe to be stolen money from the Duplantier's safe.

Alonso was a handyman that worked part-time for the Duplantiers and who lived in an apartment in a barn on the Duplantier property for past five years.

Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie said, "Alonso seized and bound the victims at their residence, where he beat them until he obtained entry into their safe." 

According to the arrest warrant, Alonso allegedly stole the money from the safe, then bound and strangled the Duplantiers, placed their bodies into the back of their pickup and drove the truck to Petros Truck Stop in Hammond, then got into the white truck and took off to Florida.

When the police arrived to the Duplantier home Monday night, they found blood inside many of the rooms which indicated that a fight had taken place inside the home. Originally, the police said the home did not appear to be disturbed. 

The fact that the couple had been tortured and beaten was not revealed until Wednesday.

Detectives also searched Alonso's apartment where they found items they believe were connected to the murder of the Duplantiers.

The search for the accomplice to the double-murder is ongoing.

On Thursday, October 22, 2015, a search of the Duplantier property was performed after investigators received a tip from a police informant stating that he had first-hand knowledge that Alonso murdered another person and buried the body near to where he lived on the Duplantier property.

Sheriff Sid Gautreaux said that the only bones found on the property were animal bones. Confirmation that the bones were from an animal is being made by the LSU FACES lab.

Meanwhile, Alonso has decided to fight extradition from Florida to Louisiana. It could take three months for him to be returned to East Baton Rouge to face charges, officials said.

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Montaldo, Charles. "The Murders of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier." ThoughtCo, Oct. 27, 2015, thoughtco.com/murders-of-denis-and-suzanne-duplantier-971128. Montaldo, Charles. (2015, October 27). The Murders of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/murders-of-denis-and-suzanne-duplantier-971128 Montaldo, Charles. "The Murders of Denis and Suzanne Duplantier." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/murders-of-denis-and-suzanne-duplantier-971128 (accessed December 12, 2017).