Four people were arrested on Tuesday after the bodies of two people were found in a submerged vehicle at a boat launch in Louisiana in what authorities described as a "carjacking gone bad."
The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said the bodies of Raegan Elizabeth Day, 20, and Dustin R. Hartline, 28, were found by a dive team on Monday in a vehicle at the East Pearl River Boat Launch in Slidell, about 40 miles east of New Orleans.
The pair were last seen leaving their home on Feb. 15 in Day's dark blue Chevrolet Camaro, and were expected to head to the Baton Rouge area after stopping at a family member's home in nearby Kenner, officials said.
The two never showed up at the home, prompting family members to contact police, according to FOX8.
Investigators announced on Tuesday that four suspects -- Jason Landry, Brittney "Beezy" Savell, Derrion Lemoine, and Steven "Stevie" Oliviere -- were arrested on two counts each of first-degree murder.
Sheriff Randy Smith said at a news conference on Wednesday that the pair traveled under "false pretense" to a home in Slidell, where they were supposed to discuss selling a car to Savell.
"It's a very sad situation and it's unfortunate that two people lost their lives and that four others are facing life in prison over a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro," he said at a news conference.
Smith said the two died of gunshot wounds to the head, and that the bodies were driven to the boat launch area after the killings. Due to the amount of time the bodies were underwater, the bodies were significantly decomposed, but the coroner was able to identify them off their tattoos, according to Smith.
“We learned during this investigation that this was a carjacking gone bad,” Smith said. “These four individuals that were arrested for first-degree homicide had planned this, premeditated this.”
The sheriff told reporters the suspects were hiding in Mississippi after the killings, and that three weapons were recovered during the investigation. Two of those weapons are believed to be the murder weapons, according to Smith.
"It's not the ending we had hoped for, but at least now we can bring some closure to the families," he said.
The families of the pair were "devastated" after the bodies were recovered, Day's uncle, James Madison, told NOLA.com.
"The family, this is just so hard for us,'' Madison told the news outlet. “Her mom is devastated. This is her only daughter."
He said the two, who were described as good friends, were not people who would disappear without telling anyone.
"We kind of suspected foul play from the first day," he told NOLA.com. "It was just so out of character for both of them. It raised a lot of red flags."