(DUSON, La.) — The family of a kidnapped Louisiana mother tracked down and killed the father of her child in the abandoned house where he was allegedly holding her prisoner, authorities said.
Bethany Arceneaux, 29, of Duson, La., was abducted in the parking lot of a daycare where she was picking up her 2-year-old at approximately 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department Captain Kip Judice told ABCNews.com.
Witnesses saw the suspect, Scott Thomas, allegedly force Arceneaux into his white Buick LeSabre, before driving off, Lafayette Police Department spokesman Paul Mouton told ABCNews.com.
Thomas, 29, of Leonville, La., is the father of Arceneaux’s child, Judice said. The woman had a restraining order against Thomas, but Judice said he did not know when it was filed.
The child was left behind in the woman’s car, and was later taken into custody by the woman’s mother, Mouton said.
Later that evening, law enforcement officials found Thomas’ car near an abandoned sugarcane field in a rural area of Lafayette Parish, La., Judice said.
One of Arceneaux’s shoes was found in the car, while the other had been left in the parking lot of the daycare where she had been last seen.
Authorities searched the sugarcane field Wednesday night and all day Thursday, but to no avail, Judice said. The cane towers as high as eight feet tall and was “a brutal search area” for officials, he said.
It wasn’t until Friday morning, when Arceneaux’s family members conducted their own search in the same area that they came upon a secluded, abandoned house behind a cluster of trees.
The house was directly across the street from the field where Thomas abandoned his car, but only the home’s roof was visible from the road, Judice said.
“[The family] converged on a piece of property about a mile from where the car was found,” Judice said. “One of the family members heard what he thought was a scream.”
Arceneaux’s cousin approached the home, kicked in the door in and entered, Judice said. Inside, he found Thomas with the woman. Thomas then began stabbing Arceneaux, and a confrontation ensued.
“The cousin, who was armed, began firing several shots at Thomas,” Judice said. “After a couple of shots, [Arceneaux] was able to get free of him and they escorted her out of the house.”
Arcenaux suffered several stab wounds and was taken by ambulance to Lafayette General Medical Center, where she is in stable condition, Judice said. It is not known if Arceneaux had been stabbed before her cousin found her inside the home, officials said.
Meanwhile, officers who heard the gun shots fired surrounded the home, Judice said. Upon entering, they found Thomas’ lifeless body on the ground. He had sustained several gunshot wounds.
Thomas’ cause of death is not known, Judice said. An autopsy on the body will be conducted by Lafayette Parish Coroner Ken Odinet, but it is not known when it will take place.
ABC News’ attempts to reach Odinet were not immediately successful.
Thomas did not own the abandoned home, Judice said. At this point, there is no known connection between Thomas and the property’s owners.
Arceneaux told investigators that the home was the only place she remembers being held hostage, Judice said. She said she had not eaten or drunk anything since her abduction on Wednesday.
No charges have been filed against the man who shot Thomas, and it is unlikely that the man will be charged, Judice said.
“In the state of Louisiana, you have a right to protect yourself and others from imminent bodily harm,” he said. “We believe at this point, based on evidence and statements collected, that this guy was acting in defense of Ms. Arceneaux and thus, was within the state law.”
ABC News’ attempts to reach Arceneaux’s family were not immediately successful.
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