A pair of twins are in being held in separate jails in Winder, Georgia after police found the body of a missing Pensacola, Florida man encased in concrete behind the twins’ father’s house. According to the Barrow County News (BCN), Christopher and William Cormier, 31, were arrested on Monday and charged with concealing the death of 30-year-old Sean Dugas, although further charges may be filed on Wednesday.
Raw Story spoke with BCN’s Lona Panter Wednesday, while she waited at the courthouse in Winder.
“They had the autopsy of the body yesterday,” said Panter, “which revealed that [Dugas] died from blunt force trauma to the head. Right now, we’re waiting to see if they’re going to be charged with something more severe and which agency will be charging them. As of right now, police are not sure if he was killed in Florida or in Georgia. They have a lot of questions.”
What is clear is that Dugas and the Cormier twins were associated through a comic shop in Pensacola, and all three played the fantasy card game “Magic: The Gathering.” Beyond that, the facts are sketchy and fairly strange.
Weeks before he disappeared in September, friends reported that Dugas, who was a reporter for the Pensacola News-Journal from 2005 to 2010, was beaten up at a party.
“He showed up to the comic book shop, apparently, and he’d always had this big, crazy beard,” said Panter, “but the beard was shaved off. He had a huge knot on his jaw, his jaw was wired shut.”
The person who beat Dugas up in that incident was arrested and charged with battery, but then, weeks later, Dugas failed to meet a friend for an arranged lunch date.
According to Atlanta’s 11 Alive News, “When she went to Dugas’ house to get him on Aug. 27, a man who lived there told the woman Dugas was scheduled to return at 3 p.m. The woman left a note asking him to contact her, but he didn’t. She continued trying unsuccessfully to contact Dugas over the next few days. When she returned to the house Sept. 7 to check on him, the house was empty except for a television.”
“The woman asked neighbors if they knew what had happened to him, Alexander said. Neighbors told her a U-haul truck was there on Sept. 3 and they saw at least one man removing items from the house. Neighbors asked the man about Dugas, and the man said Dugas had been beaten and was going to live with him.”
It was around this time that the Cormier brothers moved to north Georgia from Florida to live with their father.
Panter reported in BCN that, according to Winder Chief of Police Dennis Dorsey, “the brothers showed back up to the Winder home — located at the corner of West Wright Street and 6th Avenue — and moved in. They told their father, who owns the home, that they had dropped Dugas off somewhere else in the state, but were going to take care of his dog. However, shortly after they moved in, they told the father they did not like the dog, so they had killed it and buried it in the yard.”
When detectives from Pensacola contacted the father on Monday, he informed them that he was afraid that what his sons had buried and entombed in concrete in his back yard wasn’t a dog. Police went to work to obtain a warrant to excavate the concrete slab.
Meanwhile, William and Christopher Cormier arrived at their father’s house and were taken into custody. Hours later, the excavation of the concrete burial plot revealed the body of a dead man, who was identified on Tuesday as Dugas.
The Cormier brothers have sought legal counsel and are not speaking to the press. Without more evidence, police are struggling to piece together any kind of narrative.
Panter described the atmosphere in Winder as surreal.
“It’s pretty crazy, especially for a small town like Winder, because people in Winder aren’t used to things like this happening and they’re kind of freaking out.” The place where the body was found, she said, is “in a really residential neighborhood. Just a couple of feet from the property line, people’s kids were out playing in the yard while they were excavating the thing. It’s pretty bizarre.”
The judge in Winder ruled Wednesday morning that Dugas’s death was a homicide. The coroner’s report estimates the time of death to be approximately one month ago.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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