DENHAM SPRINGS, La. – Kayla Denham knew something wasn’t right.
The 24-year-old woman authorities have described as a massage therapist arrived for an appointment with a client before dawn Monday but texted her boyfriend and asked him to keep his phone on because she had a “bad feeling” about the meeting.
A short time later, Denham was dead.
According to an affidavit for the arrest of Christopher Landry, the 25-year-old man beat Denham in the head with a pipe and strangled her after a massage that included a “sexual favor.”
“Then Christopher grabbed the lifeless body of Kayla Denham and put her body in a plastic container and placed the container with the body in the shed, then placed a tarp over the container,” Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Calvin Bowden wrote in the affidavit.
The document provides the first clues into what led to Denham’s death -- according to the man alleged to have killed her after a fight that began when, he claims, she tried to steal from him.
Sheriff Jason Ard, though, cautioned that Landry's words aren't to be trusted.
"The victim cannot speak for herself. We must rely on evidence to find the truth," Ard said. "At this point in our investigation, I am going to tell you that based on the evidence we've collected up until now, the suspect's version of what happened is not fully supported by what we've uncovered"
Denham was reported missing Tuesday, hours after she was supposed to have finished her meeting with Landry.
Her boyfriend began to search for her at the home where she said her appointment was set up.
He found her car parked on a gravel road, about a quarter-mile away from the home and called 911.
Detectives called in to help with the search met with a resident at the home who said she did not know of Denham being there. But inside, detectives found blood smeared on the kitchen floor and applied for a search warrant, not only for the home but for all buildings on the property.
They found Denham’s body a short time later in the barn.
Detectives learned about Landry through the messages Denham sent to her boyfriend and called him in for an interview.
Landry, who investigators said has been cooperative, said he met Denham at the home in the 30700 block of Dunn Road and paid her $140 for the massage with the “sexual favor.” That home is not Landry’s address listed in arrest documents.
The state board that licenses massage therapists has said it has no record for Denham, an occupational therapy student at Delgado Community College in New Orleans. State law requires massage therapists to be licensed.
Once inside, Landry reportedly told investigators, Denham “performed her duties” and Landry went to use the bathroom.
He told investigators he saw Denham grab his computer bag with his wallet in it, at which point the two began to fight.
After the fatal encounter and relocation of Denham’s body, Landry said, he moved her car to a wooded area near the home.
He said he then “destroyed” Denham’s cellphone and threw her purse into the woods.
Landry was booked on a count of second-degree murder and obstruction of justice.
He remained jailed Friday on a $250,000 bond.
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