Dale Sands.jpg

Dale Sands

The body of an an Allstate financial representative reported missing early Wednesday was discovered hours later by a child playing football in the back yard of his Great Smokey Avenue home, police said.

Dale Sands, 53, of Greenwell Springs, had been shot several times in both the head and chest, said East Baton Rouge Coroner Beau Clark.

"He was a very Christian guy, very accommodating with everyone," said Tony Goudeau, who worked at Allstate with Sands over the last year.

Sands' body was found about 3 p.m. Wednesday partially covered by vegetation in the backyard of a home in the 9000 block of Great Smokey Avenue, said Sgt. L'Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.

Krystal Williams, 37, said her 9-year-old son found the body in their backyard while playing football Wednesday afternoon, and thought the man was sleeping.  

Hours before his body was found, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office reported Sands as a missing person who was last heard from Tuesday morning.

McKneely said Sands was believed to have been shot sometime Tuesday in the Oak Villa Boulevard and Great Smokey Avenue area.

Clark completed Sands' autopsy Thursday, ruling the death a homicide.

Clark said the body was found partially decomposed, but would not estimate how long Sands had been dead. He said during August a body can decompose quite rapidly in south Louisiana. 

Authorities continue to investigate exactly when Sands died, Clark said. 

Sands worked in Goudeau's Gonzales office as a personal financial representative, selling life insurance and retirement benefits, Goudeau said. He also worked in other Allstate offices, Goudeau said.

He said Sands started working with him in July 2016, and soon after Sands' house flooded, forcing him to rebuild. The family had only recently moved back into their home.

He said Sands had also recently lost his mother and his car was stolen. 

"He'd been through a lot, and then this happened," Goudeau said. "It's hard for me to believe. I was kind of in shock."

Goudeau said he last spoke with Sands Monday — as they would often talk daily about customers — and a text he sent to him Tuesday went unanswered. He said he became worried when Sands didn't show up for work Wednesday, the day he would come to the Gonzales office. 

"He was clean cut. He was a great character," Goudeau said. 

Goudeau said Sands was married with children. 

Anyone with information on the shooting death should contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crimestoppers at (225) 344-7867.

Follow Grace Toohey on Twitter, @grace_2e.