NEW ORLEANS -- The family of woman who went missing and was later killed in what police have described as a murder-suicide is seeking help to give her a proper burial.
The Orleans Parish Coroner's Office identified the victim last week as 22-year-old Lakisha Johnson.
New Orleans police discovered her body in a home in the 2800 block of Fortin Street. Officers also found the body of 56-year-old Gerod McDougal. Police believe McDougal killed Johnson and then turned the gun on himself.
It is unclear when the murder-suicide took place. A police spokesman at the scene on Thursday said it was possible the bodies could have been in the home for more than a day.
Johnson's family reported the mother of two missing on Feb. 9, five days after they last saw her. Kierra Duncan, a sister, said the family made repeated calls to NOPD to check the house on Fortin Street, where they say McDougal lived.
They claim those calls were ignored and that by the time police made the effort to enter the house, it was too late.
"They say they went by the house but they say they couldn't go in. They also said the house looked abandoned. In New Orleans, there are a lot of houses that look abandoned and people still stay in these houses. It's not their fault, but some of it they need to take the blame because they didn't do anything to help find my sister," said Duncan.
In a written statement, NOPD spokesperson Remi Braden said officers responded twice to the Fortin Street home after Johnson was reported missing.
Braden stated that officers knocked on the door during those first two checks but there was no response. On the third and final attempt, Braden says officers noticed days worth of mail outside of the door, which provided probable cause for entry into the home.
"Our condolences go out to her family. Detectives did go out to this location more than once to check, but got no response, and initially did not have reason to force access into the private property. In the last year, this department has investigated more than 500 missing persons cases. It is always most helpful to detectives when people report a family member as missing as soon as possible," Braden said in the statement.
Lakisha Johnson leaves behind two children. Her family says McDougal was the father of her youngest child.
The family has set up a funeral fund. Concerned parties can visit at any Capital One Bank and look under the Marissa F. Duncan Funeral Fund for Lakisha Johnson.