2 New Orleans kidnapping victims found dead

Police arrested a man earlier Monday in connection with the case after picking up six people who had been in the area where a car owned by one of the victims was found.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) âÄî The bodies of two college students kidnapped during the weekend were found Monday inside an abandoned house in a section of New Orleans east of the Mississippi River. The bodies of Fitzgerald Phillips and Calyisse Perkins, both 19, were found at about 1:30 p.m. in the Gert Town section of the city after police received an anonymous tip, Deputy Police Superintendent Marlon Defillo said. The two were students at Southern University at New Orleans. Police did not say how the victims died and released few details. Police arrested a man earlier Monday in connection with the case after picking up six people who had been in the area where a car owned by one of the victims was found. Kenneth Barnes, 22, was booked with aggravated kidnapping, possession of stolen items and other crimes after investigators discovered property belonging to the victims, Defillo said. About 20 police recruits had been searching for the students before the tip was received. A cadaver dog alerted officers to the bodies, which were found in a house in uptown New Orleans. Police said the victims were in Perkins’ apartment when two men got inside, ransacked the residence and forced them to go to Phillips’ house, where more was stolen. According to investigators, Phillips’ family later received a ransom call. A car owned by Phillips was found Sunday afternoon in the Treme section near the French Quarter, several miles from where the bodies were found. Autopsies were planned, and Crimestoppers offered a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and indictment of whoever was responsible for the crimes. “There is no indication that these two young folk were involved in anything illegal,” Defillo said. Sheila Reneau, mother of Calyisse Perkins, said she couldn’t make sense of the crime. Her family had never been victimized by violence, and “Calyisse last got into a fight in the first grade,” Reneau told The Times-Picayune newspaper.