DENHAM SPRINGS, La. – A 24-year-old massage therapist reported missing Monday was found dead hours later at the location of her last appointment, and a man has been arrested on suspicion of killing her.
Christopher Landry was booked on a count of second-degree murder and a count of obstruction of justice in the death of Kayla Ann Denham.
Friends and family reported the Baton Rouge woman missing after she never returned from the 5 a.m. appointment and did not answer any calls.
Dehman’s body was found in a building at 30709 Dunn Road. Her car was found near that building, authorities said.
"We are in shock about the loss of our beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin and friend,” Denham's cousin Michelle Guglielmo Gilliam wrote in a statement released to WBRZ-TV. “Kayla was a wonderful young woman who always shared a beautiful smile on her face and love in her heart. She will be greatly missed, and we ask for privacy during this very difficult period of mourning for the family."
The state board that licenses massage therapists confirmed to Eyewitness News there is no record of anyone named Kayla Ann Denham with a license for massage therapy. Louisiana law requires massage therapists to have a license.
Authorities did not immediately provide a motive or cause of death in Denham’s killing.
“As you can imagine, this is an ongoing investigation," Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said. "There are still a lot of questions that we need to answer. We are working with the (Louisiana State Police) Crime Lab and the Livingston Parish Coroner’s Office to learn as much as possible as we continue to piece this case together."
The Advocate reported that Denham told her boyfriend the time and location of the appointment.
When Denham’s boyfriend didn’t hear back from her, the paper reported, he drove to the address to look for her car. He eventually found it about 5 p.m. Monday in a wooded area down on a gravel road next to the appointment location, according to The Advocate.
Denham’s boyfriend then called 911. Deputies found her body in what appeared to be a barn.
"Ms. Denham was able to share her location with her boyfriend which really helped with the investigation," Ard told The Advocate. "Those are the kinds of things that help."
He added Denham regularly shared the address for appointments.
Landry does not have a criminal history of violent crime, Ard said, and he has been cooperating with deputies.
His bond was set Tuesday afternoon at $175,000.