Update, 6 a.m. Wednesday: Nicholas James Dupuis, 33, has been arrested on a warrant for first-degree murder and arson and is in police custody, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
CHURCH POINT — Authorities on Tuesday were still searching for a Crowley man accused of shooting and killing his Opelousas girlfriend this weekend and burning her body inside an abandoned mobile home in Church Point.
Nicholas James Dupuis, 33, faces counts of first-degree murder and arson in the killing of a woman authorities believe to be 32-year-old Shontel Denise Joseph, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. A positive identification of the victim was still pending.
Preliminary autopsy findings determined the woman died from two gunshot wounds to the chest, the Fire Marshal’s Office said. Authorities found her body around 6:30 a.m. Sunday inside a burning mobile home in the 600 block of Choppys Road.
Police on Sunday arrested another man, 22-year-old Kantarise Tatty Jordan Lazaro, of Church Point, as an accessory after-the-fact in the slaying, the Marshal’s Office said. Lazaro confessed to aiding Dupuis in a failed attempt to burn the woman’s body in a plastic trash can in a remote field, the Marshal’s Office said.
After discovering the body in the burning home, fire investigators found Lazaro’s car burning on Black Smith Road in Church Point with women’s clothing and shoes inside.
Lazaro has since been released from the Acadia Parish jail on a $10,000 bond.
Anyone with information on Dupuis’ whereabouts is encouraged to contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (800) 256-5452 or the Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Office at (337) 788-8700.