After the body of a missing teen was discovered in Shenandoah subdivision following nearly two weeks of searches, the coroner has ruled his death a homicide and a person accused of shooting him faces murder charges.
Coby Beauchamp, 19, was discovered Friday morning behind a shed in the backyard of a home on Harpers Ferry Avenue. On Nov. 1 — the day he vanished — another teen fired shots at Beauchamp, who then fled. The shooting took place one street away from where Beauchamp's body was eventually discovered.
Dayne Amman, 18, was arrested that night on attempted second-degree murder because authorities could not locate an injured or deceased Beauchamp.
Following days of fruitless searching, deputies received a tip that Beauchamp had run in a different direction than previously thought. That led them quickly to his body located behind a shed on a street near where the shooting took place.
The coroner has ruled his death a homicide and said he died from multiple gunshot wounds. That led deputies to upgrade the counts against Amman to second-degree murder.
Beauchamp's family says they were not taken seriously in their efforts to locate the teen. They feel authorities dismissed their concerns due to the young man's prior criminal history.
But a spokesperson for the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office stated they did everything in their power to bring him home.
Lauren Beauchamp, Coby's older sister, said neighbors close to where the shooting happened told her family that "no real search of the area" was initially conducted. When several people contacted the sheriff's office, they were informed there was no shooting victim and there was not an active search for her brother.
"The last two weeks have been extremely difficult," she said. "Initially, I was hopeful to find him alive and well, but I quickly realized that Baton Rouge Sheriffs Office had very little concern in regards to his whereabouts."
When his sister called authorities for information, she said one detective hung up on her multiple times and dismissed her brother "as a kid with warrants evading the law."
Coby Beauchamp was arrested on simple burglary and related counts in 2018 and 2020.
While nether the sheriff's office nor Beauchamp's family indicated why Coby was in the area the night of the shooting, Amman told authorities Beauchamp, who was an acquaintance, had "a history of doing bad things," which is why he shot at him. He also said Beauchamp did not threaten or provoke him, according to his arresting documents.
"Right now there’s a lot of unknowns," said Rusty Messer, Amman's attorney. "Until we have more information...it’s too early to make any conclusions."
Lauren Beauchamp believes that her brother's criminal history colored law enforcement's response to his disappearance. She said the detective she spoke to insinuated that she "was some sort of accomplice," even as she begged him for his help in finding her brother.
"Most of my calls to him went unanswered," she said. "And when he answered, he would condescendingly tell me to have my (missing) brother contact him."
Casey Rayborn Hicks, EBRSO spokesperson, disputes this narrative.
"Homicide detectives took this case very seriously, as they do all their cases," she said.
The night of the shooting, detectives scoured the area to find Beauchamp based on the information they received on the direction he ran, Hicks said. Detectives could not see any shell casings, blood or other evidence that someone had been struck by gunfire. Even a shoe found at the scene — presumably Beauchamp's — was tested for any indication of blood, but there was none.
"According to the family, he had no cell phone or social media, which complicated the investigation and determining if he was in danger," Hicks said.
And initially, witnesses hesitated to come forward or get involved. The more detectives frequented the area, the more neighbors began to open up and provide information.
She added that detectives searched the area multiple times and released a bulletin to area law enforcement in an effort to find Beauchamp.
"Detectives sympathize with the grieving family, and understand that this must be a very difficult time," Hicks said. "Detectives will continue to ensure that the individual responsible for his death is brought to justice."
Lauren Beauchamp said the authorities have not reached out since notifying the family they found her brother's body.
Local NAACP President Eugene Weatherspoon Collins, who Lauren Beauchamp describes as "the catalyst" for bringing the public's attention to her brother's disappearance, said Tuesday that he believes with a "thorough walkthrough," Beauchamp's body could have been found.
"At the end of the day, I think this is a systemic issue," he said. "We see that sometimes African Americans are not sought after when missing with the same resources or passion. You’ll see the same thing around this country."
Collins believes Beauchamp's time and date of death will be critical in determining next steps for the family, particularly "if it was possible to save his life with a thorough search."
"That mom was just waiting to bury her baby," he said. "That’s really what it boils down to."
Lauren Beauchamp said her family will miss her brother's goofiness the most, how his laugh was "infectious" and how happy they were to see him become a proud father to his infant daughter, Laila. She asked for the community to pray for her family.
"I really wish they had taken the time to hear us out," she said. "It’s difficult to process that he could’ve been found and already received a proper burial. Instead, he lay there alone for nearly two weeks."
Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify Coby Beauchamp's arrest history.