RESERVE, La. - The bodies of Kenneth and Lakeitha Joseph were pulled from the Intracoastal Waterway in eastern New Orleans less than two weeks apart last month.
The couple went missing from their home in Reserve on February 19. Now, a search warrant obtained by our partners at the New Orleans Advocate is adding details to their deaths.
In the search warrant, the New Orleans Police detective investigating the deaths notes how blue nylon rope was used to tie the feet of the husband and wife. In the case of Kenneth Joseph, the investigator found the rope around his feet was tethered to a 30-pound kettle bell.
The search warrant stated a frayed area of rope around Lakeitha's feet indicates that her body too was weighed down but likely came loose leading to her body to surface first.
The detective traced the purchase of kettle bells, rope and other items to a Wal-Mart at 300 West Esplanade Avenue in Kenner. According to the search warrant, the "transaction was captured on surveillance video which depicted a black female and black male making the transaction."
After searching the store's purchased items database, the detectives discovered the following items were purchased by that couple: (2) 30-pound kettle bells, (2) fleece hooded sweatshirts, (3) pair of "Gripping Gloves", fishing line, blue utility rope, (2) pair of shoes and a bottle of degreaser. The date of the purchase was February 19, the same date the couple went missing.
"It's very shocking to know they were weighed down, to just imagine what they went through," said Joshua Jones.
Jones says he's known Kenneth Joseph for twelve years. He attended his funeral this past Saturday where Kenneth Joseph was buried next to his wife. Jones says, to his knowledge, the couple didn't have enemies.
"No enemies whatsoever, nicest people you could meet. They would help you out if you needed it," said Jones.
The van the couple was last seen driving was eventually discovered at an apartment complex in College Park, Georgia. Both the New Orleans Police Department and St. John parish sheriff's office declined to comment on the investigation. While the cause of death was determined to be drowning, the details of the search warrant point to what could be considered a planned murder. This story was developed with the New Orleans Advocate.