Dec 14, 2010 7:13 PM by MIKE MAGNOLI & MADDIE GARRETT
The scene was active with flashing lights and crime tape Monday night just outside of Iberia on Sugar Oaks Road. Deputies gathering evidence at a barn where Doctor Robert Chastant was found dead.
Chastant owned the property and had a hired hand to help maintain it.
"My understanding is the suspect worked at the doctor's horse stables," Lt. Ryan Turner, Iberia Sheriff's PIO told KATC.
21 year old Ismael Viera didn't just work for Dr. Chastant, he also lived in a guest house on Chastant's plantation. We went to Chastant's mansion for a comment from his family, but relatives asked that we respect their privacy and keep our distance.
Here's what we know of the timeline: Chastant left his house at 8 AM on Monday to go to the horse stables. At 9 AM a missing person's report was filed when he didn't show up for work. At 10 AM one of Chastant's vehicles was found at the local Walmart.
Invesigators now think Viera brought the vehicle here to create confusion.
At 9 PM deputies uncovered Chastants body which had sustained major trauma. An autopsy will reveal the exact cause of death. All we're being told now is that it was not a shooting. the Coronor expects to know more on Wednesday.
"We're still looking into the actual motive," Turner said.
The suspect is said to be cooperating and is charged with 2nd Degree Murder.
Just one day after his death, staff and patients at Dr. Robert Chastant's office are still in shock as they return to his office Tuesday. He was the man who gave so many smiles, but as patients came and went Tuesday at his office there were few smiles to be seen.
"He was just an all around good guy, what was there not to like about him you know?" said Monique Maturin.
Maturin knew Dr. Chastant since she was 10 years old. And like many of his current and former patients, to her Chastant was more than an orthodontist.
"he not only fixed our teeth and gave us the confident smile that we all looked for, but he was on a personal level, you know he really bonded with his patients," said Tamica Theriot, also a patient and friend of Chastant.
Chastant was known in New Iberia for his involvement with area schools and helping local kids. He often donated his time and money to school children and various school activities.
"He was involved in a lot of people's lives, he's made a big difference in the community," said Katie Trahan, a customer of Chastant.
They say when you came into his office, you were getting more than just a beautiful smile.
"You came here as a stranger but you left here as a family member," said Theriot.
It's for all of these reasons that the loss of Dr. Chastant is so painful for so many who knew him.
"Words can't even describe how I feel... Angry, hurt, shocked, devastated beyond words can express," said Theriot.
"I just feel really bad because he didn't deserve this at all," said Maturin. "And I just hope that God holds him tight in his arms and helps his family get through this horrible horrible mess that someone caused."
Several doctors have stepped in to help take care of Dr Chastant's patients and keep his orthodontics office open. But those who knew him say there will never be replacement that can truly fill his shoes.
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