press conference

Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso, left, and Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats give update on the Monday night murder of a Sulphur man at a joint news conference Wednesday.

LAKE CHARLES — The third suspect, arrested Tuesday night on one count of accessory after the fact in connection to the Monday night murder of Sulphur man Steven Woodruff, has been identified as Sirmalachi Bergeaux, 21, of Welsh.  

At a news conference Wednesday, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff Tony Mancuso and Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats presented a timeline of events leading to three arrests made so far in Woodruff’s homicide. Bergeaux’s father, Clifton Bergeaux, of Welsh, is charged with one count of accessory after the fact, and Blaine Daniel Kennedy, of Welsh, is charged with one count each of first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, and felony theft. They were arrested during the day Tuesday.

Woodruff’s body was found late Tuesday morning at the intersection of W. Burton Street and Steagel Road, just outside Sulphur’s west city limits. Because the murder is believed to have occurred at the victim’s Kim Street residence in Sulphur, Mancuso said the investigation is being conducted jointly between the two agencies.

Woodruff’s Ford F-150 pickup was located Tuesday in Evangeline Parish, just as CPSO deputies were preparing to take a helicopter flight over heavily wooded areas. Mancuso said it appears that the truck was set on fire, but it will be brought to the CPSO for forensic testing. He said several of the items stolen from Woodruff’s home, which are not being made public at this time, have been located.

The sheriff said a tip led officers to Kennedy’s residence in Welsh, where some of the stolen items were found. SPD Chief Lewis Coats said the investigation received assistance from the Welsh Police Department and the Sheriff’s offices in Beauregard and Jeff Davis parishes.

Both Mancuso and Coats commended their detectives for the work done thus far. Coats noted that, unlike in other parts of the state, local law agencies work well together. “This should be refreshing to the citizens of Calcasieu Parish,” Coats said.

Neither the Bergeauxs nor Woodruff have criminal records. Mancuso said Kennedy has been arrested for burglary before.

Coats said Woodruff appears to have been a “victim of circumstance.” “He was a hard working man,” Coats said. “He wasn’t doing anything wrong or engaging in any criminal activity.”

“I don’t think we’ve made all of the arrests yet,” added Mancuso. “We still have loose ends to tie up. We did not recover all of the stolen items.” At this time, no motive has been identified for the murder. Mancuso said Kennedy is a distant cousin of Woodruff. Coats issued a warning to anyone involved in the murder. “We will kick your door down and take you to jail,” he said. “And that’s a promise from Lewis Coats and Sheriff Mancuso.”

“We will go after them and make an example that things are not going to happen like that in Calcasieu Parish,” Mancuso added.  

Anyone with information relating to the events surrounding these crimes is asked to call the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-437-1300 or the Sulphur Police Department at 337-527-4550.