NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff’s Office Thursday night named the 24-year-old grandson of fatally beaten Beulah Morris, 91, as her suspected killer.
Sheriff Bud Torres said his office issued an arrest warrant on a count of first-degree murder for Brandon Battley, of New Roads.
Torres said he expected deputies to arrest Battley on Thursday night at the Acadia Vermilion Hospital in Lafayette, where the suspect had admitted himself for psychological reasons.
“This has been a painstaking case,” Torres said. “We had to issue three search warrants before we were able to obtain the arrest warrant. We’re making the arrest on probable cause from the physical evidence we have obtained from the crime scene.”
The usually serene neighborhood where Beulah Morris lived for more than 40 years was disrupted Tuesday afternoon when she was found dead in the kitchen of her home at 8623 Pecan Drive.
Connie Morris discovered her mother’s body Tuesday after learning from her brother, Beulah Morris’ son, that their mother did not answer the door when he came to visit earlier Tuesday.
Investigators said Wednesday Beulah Morris, the mother of five, died from blunt force trauma to the head. But detectives had ruled out the possibility that she was killed during a robbery attempt because nothing had been taken from the home.
“Every detective in the office is working on this — along with outside agencies,” sheriff’s Capt. Brett Robillard had said earlier Thursday.
“This type of thing rarely happens there. It’s a little quiet community.”
Robillard said several items had been sent to the State Police Crime Laboratory for fingerprint and DNA testing.
Although deputies had not yet determined what weapon was used to kill Morris, Robillard added, they believe she was killed 24 to 48 hours before her autopsy was performed Wednesday.
Connie Morris said Wednesday she last spoke to her mother during a telephone call Saturday. Neighbors recalled seeing Beulah Morris alive on Saturday or Sunday.
Although Pecan Drive is a quiet, dead-end street where neighbors “all look out for one another,” Robillard said, the Sheriff’s Office had not received any tips from the public to assist in its investigation.
Torres said Battley will be returned to the parish for questioning as his deputies’ investigation into the slaying unfolds.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Torres said.