Sheriff: Suspects being interviewed in teen’s slaying

Investigators are interviewing a number of suspects in the slaying of 15-year-old Brandon Augusta, Sheriff Jeff Wiley said Friday afternoon, before a candlelight memorial organized by residents was held later that day in memory of the teen.

“My son did not deserve this,” the teen’s mother, Katrina Augusta, of Donaldsonville, said while addressing more than 100 people who had gathered at Louisiana Square Park in front of the courthouse Friday night.

“He was only 15 years old,” Augusta said.

While the community mourns, the Sheriff’s Office is continuing to vigorously investigate the case, Wiley said. Investigators have forwarded to the State Police Crime Lab “any number of items of evidence,” the sheriff said. “We’ve gotten some back and are awaiting others.”

Brandon Augusta, who was enrolled as a freshman at Donaldsonville High School, was reported missing on Aug. 10 and had last been seen with friends the previous evening, Wiley has said.

A body found five days later on the levee in Donaldsonville was identified Monday as the teen.

While the Sheriff’s Office has not released a cause of death, it has said the youth suffered a traumatic head injury.

Brandon’s mother said she hopes her son’s death will not have been in vain, that it would bring the community together to fight acts of violence.

“My message to the kids: Please, get along,” she said.

Brandon’s father, Sheldon Sheppard, of White Castle, spoke briefly. “If you know something (about the case), just say something,” he pleaded.

Friends, family, city and parish officials, teachers and one of Brandon’s former principals attended the event, which included music, prayers and a local gospel radio station broadcasting the speakers live to the community.

Students at Donaldsonville High brought a hand-drawn sketch of Brandon, signed by the youngsters.

Donna Gaignard, director of the Bright Futures Community Learning Center, which is funded by a state grant in Donaldsonville, said before the memorial that Brandon was at the center at 3 p.m. every day after school, come rain or shine.

He also attended a summer camp the center offers, she said.

The center provides classes geared to various careers, as well as piano, keyboard, choir and other classes.

The teen was a whiz at math and was tender-hearted and respectful, Gaignard said. “He was making great choices; he was heading in the right direction.”

A memorial fund for Brandon has been set up at Whitney National Bank and also on the website GoFundMe.

His funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Donaldsonville.