MAUREPAS – Bond has been increased to $300,000 for each of three suspects being held in the death of a Ponchatoula woman whose body was found in Maurepas, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux said.

Judge Doug Hughes raised the bonds in 21st Judicial District Court on Wednesday, Feb. 14, for John Cowart, Derek Williford and Justin Scivique.

The action came after the preliminary results of an autopsy by the Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office revealed Emily Rodgers, 19, died from “blunt force injuries.” 

Cowart faces a second-degree murder count and has been identified by Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard as the person suspected in the death of Rodgers.

His total bond is now $325,000, according to booking records. He also faces parole violation – with no bond -- and obstruction of justice charges.

“This is very devastating for the Maurepas community and to our parish,” Ard said.

“I am grateful that we were able to make the proper arrests. We are still investigating the circumstances surrounding Emily Rodger’s death,” the sheriff said.

“We feel that we have a strong case for prosecution to give this family some peace,” Ard said. “The family and loved ones of Emily Rodgers are in our thoughts and prayers.”

A missing persons report was filed with the Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Feb. 9, started the investigation.

“Foul play was immediately suspected because of conflicting stories from those close to the investigation,” Ard said.

As detectives continued looking into this case, they uncovered that Rodgers had been living in the Maurepas area, he said. 

They also learned some people questioned knew more about what happened to Rodgers than they told detectives, Ard said.

“My detectives were able to work with a witness who revealed details about the final hours of Emily’s life and then to the location of her body,” the sheriff said.

Rodgers’ body was found in a wooded area off Catfish Landing Road in Maurepas, he said.

Anyone with information on this case can call the Sheriff’s Office at (225) 686-2241 ext. 1 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-STOP (7867).

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