DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Authorities on Friday identified the body of a man who was found entombed in concrete in the backyard of a northeast Georgia home.
The man has been identified as Sean Dugas, 30, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner's office. The body was found Monday encased in a plastic storage container filled with concrete.
Authorities this week charged twin brothers Christopher and William Cormier, 31, with murder in the death of Dugas, a former newspaper reporter in Pensacola, Fla. The Cormier brothers are also charged with concealing death.
"It's a little hard to wrap your head around it," said Kris Wernowsky, who worked at the Pensacola News Journal, where he sat next to Dugas for about three years. "I've worked there for so many years and covered many things in Florida. You never would have thought you would go to a website and click on a story about someone you know. ... It's heartbreaking."
Dugas' dreadlocks and bushy long beard helped him stand out easily in the Pensacola area on the Florida Panhandle, Wernowsky said. Dugas had covered a wide variety of topics, including breaking news and entertainment, the newspaper said on its website.
Dugas worked for the News Journal from 2005 to 2010, rising from a clerk to a police reporter.
"He was a good breaking-news reporter," Wernowsky said. "He was the type of guy who was eager and loved his job. I rarely heard about him complaining about anything."
Winder, Ga., police officer Chris Cooper said this week that medical examiners declared the death a homicide based on the number and location of the man's injuries. The autopsy revealed that the man died of blunt force trauma to the head about a month ago.
Georgia authorities on Monday arrested the twins at a home in Winder that was being rented by their father. Winder is a small city located about 45 miles northeast of Atlanta.
Police said Dugas had been reported missing and was last heard from on Aug. 27, when he made plans to have lunch with a friend the next day.
When the friend went to pick him up for the meal, he wasn't home. After trying unsuccessfully for days to reach Dugas, the friend went back to his house on Sept. 7 to find it empty. Neighbors told her a U-Haul truck had been there Sept. 3 and they saw at least one man removing things.
That man told the neighbors that Dugas had been beaten and was going to live with him, police said.
The female friend continued to try to reach Dugas before calling police on Sept. 13.
Based on information provided by Pensacola, Fla., investigators, Winder police found the body at the Georgia home being rented by the Cormier twins' father, who told police his sons had arrived from Florida about three weeks earlier. They told him they were supposed to take care of their missing friend's dog. However, they supposedly claimed they'd ended up killing the dog and burying it in their father's backyard, police said.
"There is so much that is not known," Wernowsky said. "There are so many empty spaces for a lot of us. I didn't know any of his family, and I feel sorry for their loss. What a horrible way to end your life."