The badly decomposed body of a Gonzales man accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife and son 11 months ago was pulled from the Mississippi River on Thursday in St. John the Baptist Parish, ending speculation he had staged a suicide and escaped.
A positive identification of Ronald Green Sr., 44, 41047 Lakeway Cove Ave., was made Friday morning.
On April 17, police say, Green shattered the front door of the family’s home in Gonzales and shot his estranged wife, Dewona, and their 12-year-old son, Ronald Green Jr.
Green’s car was found later that morning abandoned and still running on the Veterans Memorial Bridge in St. John the Baptist Parish, and investigators learned he had called a friend to tell her he had killed his wife and son and was going to jump.
His body was found about 3 p.m. Thursday when a crew member of a tugboat saw it floating in the river near Reserve, not far south of the roughly 16-story Veterans Memorial Bridge.
It took authorities almost two hours to recover the body from the river because of swift river currents, the St. John the Baptist Sheriff’s Office said.
The badly decomposed body was identified as that of Green on Friday morning by the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office through dental records, said Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Despite some talk that Green had perhaps faked his death and fled, Webre said, “We all felt like he did what he was going to do.”
“When a person in this day and age doesn’t leave an electronic footprint, anywhere,” it’s highly unusual, he said.
“There was no record (of Green after the slayings), no movement, no witnesses. It was very quiet,” Webre said.
Because of the lapse of time and the location where the body was found, Webre believes the body was trapped by underwater debris.
“I don’t know how I feel,” Linda Wright, the mother of Dewona Green and grandmother of Ronald Green Jr., said Friday. “Right now I’m kind of in-between.
“I’m glad that they found him. People were saying he was in Mexico, he was here, he was there. It ends the guessing game. I never had any hatred in my heart toward him, but I knew he had to pay for what he did to my children.”
Two days before the slayings of Dewona Wright Green, 40, and her son, a student at Central Middle School, she filed for divorce, having previously filed three petitions for protective orders against her husband.
“It didn’t have to happen that way,” Wright said of the slayings. “All he had to do was to let my babies go.”
Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion.