DENHAM SPRINGS -- A retired Denham Springs school teacher and his wife were identified as the victims in a double homicide, Denham Springs Police Chief Shannon Womack said in a press conference Oct. 31.
The bodies of Eugene F. "Frank" Gurley, 72, and his wife Patricia, 70, were found in the building that housed their business, National Pool Supply, on 27459 La. 16 in south Denham Springs.
"This is the most senseless and heinous crime I've handled in all my years of law enforcement," said Womack, who held back tears as he addressed the media.
Frank Gurley taught at Denham Springs High School and Denham Springs Junior High School before he retired in 2011, according to Livingston Parish School Board Superintendent Rick Wentzel.
Police officers discovered the bodies shortly after midnight Oct. 31. Neighbors told officers they had not seen or heard from the Gurleys since Oct. 29, a visibly shaken Womack said. Neighbors notified Denham Springs police after they made a welfare check and got no response.
"They were very good people," Womack said. "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."
Officers at the Gurleys' had to ultimately force entry into the business and discovered the couple's bodies, he said.
Crime scene technicians from the Louisiana State Police Crime Laboratory, analysts from the Louisiana State Analytical and fusion Exchange, and agents from the Louisiana State Police Fugitive Apprehension Task Force are assisting DSPD.
He did not know how long the Gurleys had been dead, but suspected it was not a random homicide.
"We believe they knew their assailant," Womack said.
He did not provide any other details on the homicide, and would not divulge the cause of death.
"To protect the integrity of this most serious crime, we are unable to divulge any further details of this rapidly developing case at this time," Womack said.
An autopsy has not yet been conducted.
A couple who lived near the Gurleys said they heard gunshots late Sunday night, but Womack said the Gurleys may have been seen as late as 4 p.m. Oct. 29.
Investigators believe the person(s) responsible for the homicides may have left the state, he said.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Gurleys and their friends and families," Womack said.