Crime

‘Bizarre’ story explains how corpse wound up in store parking lot

Hancock County sheriff’s investigators have pieced together and verified how the corpse of a young man from Mandeville wound up in the parking lot of a Circle K near Waveland.
Hancock County sheriff’s investigators have pieced together and verified how the corpse of a young man from Mandeville wound up in the parking lot of a Circle K near Waveland.

A young man out for a night of fun with friends died on the beach alone in Waveland, sitting in his Hyundai Sonata.

Hours later, a friend who found him got into the car and attempted to drive him to the hospital before crashing into another car and calling 911.

Hancock County Coroner Jim Faulk said Monday a drug test revealed Kenneth “Ben” Billodoux of Mandeville, Louisiana, had drugs and alcohol in his system when sheriff’s deputies found his corpse Sunday evening in the car at Circle K, about 10 hours after he died.

In interviews, investigators with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office established that 29-year-old Billodoux went out Saturday night with three friends, a young man and two women from Hancock County. They drove to New Orleans for heroin and possibly pills, said Glenn Grannan, commander of criminal investigations for Hancock County.

The group got high and headed for a bar in Bay St. Louis, Grannan said. Billodoux was chatting with a woman he met at the bar. His friends left without him.

The next afternoon, when Billodoux’s friends had not heard from him, the young man and at least one of the women headed to the beach at Buccaneer State Park, where they all liked to hang out, Grannan said. Sure enough, Billodoux was there.

Unwilling to believe he was dead, the male friend got into Billodoux’s car to take him to the hospital. On the way, the friend rear-ended a woman’s car on Lower Bay Road. The young man gave the woman his information and explained he was trying to get Billodoux to the hospital.

“She peeked in” the car, Grannan said. “She said, ‘Honey, you need to get going.’ When he explained the situation, she was OK with him leaving.”

The car was damaged in the wreck. Billodoux’s friend made it as far as the parking lot at Circle K on U.S. 90 near Waveland. Somewhere along the way, he called 911. Late Sunday afternoon, officers discovered Billodoux’s corpse in the car.

A preliminary drug screen was positive, but an autopsy also is planned.

“We have successfully verified it all,” Grannan said. “As bizarre as it sounds, that's what happened.”

Anita Lee: 228-896-2331, @calee99

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