Photo: Winder Police Department
Officials dig up a container with a body in it that was buried with a concrete slab over the top of it.
WINDER — Two days after police exhumed a man’s concrete-encased body from a property Christopher and William Cormier were renting in Winder, the twin brothers from Florida were charged Wednesday with murder and concealing a death.
An autopsy performed by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has not confirmed the dead man’s identity but did reveal he was killed with a blow to the back of his head about one month ago, Winder police spokesman Officer Chris Cooper said.
Authorities have strong suspicions the dead man could be 30-year-old Sean Dugas, a former newspaper journalist in Pensacola and a known acquaintance of the Cormier brothers. Dugas was least heard from on Aug. 27, when he missed a lunch date with a female friend. After numerous failed attempts to reach Dugas, she reported him missing Sept. 13.
GBI spokesman John Bankhead said the body — found in the backyard of a home owned by the Cormiers’ father near downtown Winder — was too deteriorated to verify an identity with fingerprints.
On Wednesday, GBI officials requested medical and dental records, which the Pensacola Police Department is providing “so the ID can be confirmed scientifically,” Bankhead said.
The Pensacola News Journal reported that Dugas knew the Cormier brothers through a mutual interest in a popular fantasy card game. They had frequented the same comic book store. Dugas had worked for that newspaper covering police and entertainment news from 2005 to 2010. Managing editor Ginny Graybiel said what Dugas had been doing for work since then was not known.
The Cormier brothers are being held without bond in separate detention centers. Police believe they’d moved to Winder about three weeks ago, telling their father they buried Dugas’ dead dog on his property after growing tired of caring for it and killing it.
A tip from Pensacola police led Winder authorities to the property on Monday.
Winder police obtained a search warrant after finding an area in the home’s backyard that appeared to have been recently disturbed. About 2 1/2 feet underground, police used heavy equipment to exhume the body, which was encased in concrete within a plastic container, Cooper said.