COVINGTON, La. – Two men whose bodies were found along Interstate 12 had both been shot in the head before they were dumped in western St. Tammany Parish, the Saint Tammany Parish coroner says.
Coroner Peter R. Galvan identified the victims Thursday as Miguel Ayala, 30, of Gainesville, Ga., and Felipe Alonso.
Deputies went to Georgia to talk to both men's families, Sheriff Jack Strain said; he said Alonso's age and address were uncertain.
Deputies found their bodies about two miles apart near westbound lanes of the interstate.
Each had been shot twice, at close range, near their left ears, Galvan said.
"It was execution style, obviously premeditated and planned," Galvan said.
He said they probably were shot hours before their bodies were found, and — based on the amount of undigested food in their stomachs — possibly as early as 10 p.m. Tuesday. Their bodies were found about 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
In addition to the bullet wounds in his head, Ayala was shot in the wrist and had some abrasions — defensive wounds, the coroner said.
Toxicology and DNA results will not be available for several weeks.
Strain said investigators have no suspects or motive.
"One obvious problem is the language barrier that we are trying to overcome," Strain said. "As always with these cases, when everyone is non-English speaking, it makes these cases difficult, incredibly difficult to solve ... perhaps not incredibly difficult, but it definitely takes much more time."
He said his office is using interpreters and trying to learn why the men were in St. Tammany Parish and what they had been doing for the previous 24 hours.
"From there, hopefully, we can determine the last known persons that they were with."
Strain said his office is working with law enforcement in Georgia as well as federal agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.