BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Arrests have been made by the Zachary Police Department after a woman’s body was found on Pride-Port Hudson Road the morning of Friday, Sept. 13.
The woman was found shot dead inside a home in the 15200 block of Pride-Port Hudson Road, EBRSO officials say.
Authorities identified the woman as Whitney Durant, 33, of Alexandria, La.
Steven Francisco Ortiz-Morales, 27, of Pineville, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and obstruction of justice. EBRSO officials later said Zebbie Berthelot, 43, had also been arrested in connection with the crime and charged with second-degree murder, accessory after the fact, obstruction of justice and felon in possession of a firearm.
EBRSO says when detectives arrived at the house, a strong bleach smell was coming from the room when the woman’s body was found.
The woman was shot with a .40 caliber weapon, EBRSO says. Crime scene investigators found bottles of bleach near the woman’s body, along with a mop bucket, wipe marks, and blood, officials say.
Ortiz-Morales was apprehended after the Zachary Police Department got a report about a suspicious person. He was issued a summon for unrelated charges and released in EBRSO’s custody for questioning.
Officials say he was found to be in possession of a .40 caliber handgun and was wearing body armor. EBRSO officials say while being questioned, Ortiz-Morales admitted to murdering the woman.
He was also seen on surveillance video from a home nearby at the time the victim was home, officials report.
Detectives later determined the two men and Durant had been using drugs together when one man allegedly became paranoid before shooting and killing her.
Detectives met with Berthelot Friday evening for questioning. He admitted that he was present when Ortiz-Morales shot Durant and that he offered her no help. He also admitted to helping the shooter locate bleach for the cleanup.
Ortiz-Morales and Berthelot will be booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. The investigation is ongoing.
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