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Arrest in the Courtney Coco murder investigation

David Anthony Burns, 43 of Boyce, indicted by grand jury Tuesday
Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 5:32 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 15, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (APD) - Alexandria Police have made an arrest in the Courtney Coco murder investigation.

David Anthony Burns, 43 of Boyce, was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with second-degree murder, according to a release by the Alexandria Police Department. Detective Tanner Dryden, who was assigned to the cold case investigation in October of 2018, made the arrest.

The indictment for David Anthony Burns, the Boyce man charged with second-degree murder for the 2004 death of 19-year-old Courtney CoCo, has been unsealed.

According to the Rapides Parish District Attorney’s Office, the arrest was made following a grand jury indictment Tuesday morning. Special prosecutors Hugo Holland and Lea Hall will handle the case for the state. There’s no word yet on who will represent Burns.

The body of 19-year-old Courtney Coco was found in an abandoned building in Winnie, Texas in Oct. 2004. According to reports, she was last seen by her mother about two days before at her home on West Sandy Bayou. An autopsy conducted shortly after could not determine Coco’s cause of death due to the condition of her body, but it was ruled a homicide. The case has been worked on throughout the years by officials in Alexandria and Texas.

District Attorney Phillip Terrell praised the Alexandria Police Department for their work in the case.

“I want to compliment the Alexandria Police Department and all of my people at the DA’s Office. This has been a very difficult case, it has been a tough case, it’s an old case that the APD and sheriff’s office have both worked very hard to bring to its appropriate conclusion,” he said.

Terrell also addressed public pressure to get the case solved, especially following a popular podcast “Real Life Real Crime” hosted by Woody Overton, a retired detective, which helped renew interest in the case.

“I can’t really talk about the specifics of the case,” he said. “I don’t want to do anything to compromise the integrity of the case. We waited so long and worked so hard to get it to this point. It was a very old case, the evidence was old. It’s a tough case. The Alexandria Police did a phenomenal job in staying the course and waiting until the appropriate time to make the arrest.”

Alexandria Police Department’s Public Information Officer Josh Peppers said this case has required a lot of time and work from the department.

“Detective Dryden has put numerous hours into this case working it as a cold case culminated with the arrest. I know it’s a relief for the families and for everyone that’s been following the case. It has taken quite a while to make an arrest and we understand that,” said Peppers. “We have to follow certain protocols to make sure we make a good arrest and ultimately an arrest was made.”

More details to come.

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