(DUSCON, La.) — A Louisiana mother whose family rescued her from an alleged stabbing attack at the hands of a man suspected of holding her prisoner knew that her family would come for her, her uncle said.
Bethany Arceneaux, 29, of Duson, La., is recovering at a relative’s home after her family came to her rescue Friday, tracking her down and killing the father of her child in an abandoned house where she was allegedly being held against her will.
“We can finally go to sleep at night,” Arceneaux’s uncle Marcus Arceneaux told ABC News Lafayette affiliate KATC-TV. “We felt we did what we had to do. It was a situation where her life was at hand. The guy was out to kill her and we weren’t going to wait for it to happen.”
Marcus Arceneaux was photographed carrying his bloody and distressed niece to safety after the family rescued her.
Arceneaux was abducted in the parking lot of a day care where she was picking up her 2-year-old at about 5 p.m. Wednesday, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department Captain Kip Judice told ABC News.
Witnesses saw the suspect, Scott Thomas, allegedly force Arceneaux into his white Buick LeSabre before driving off, Lafayette Police Department spokesman Paul Mouton told ABC News.
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, Judice said. Authorities searched the field Wednesday and Thursday to no avail.
Arceneaux’s family members conducted their own search in the same area Friday morning and came upon a secluded, abandoned house behind a cluster of trees. A relative heard her scream.
“She just hollered like her life was in danger and when they heard her, they said a chill went through their body,” Marcus Arceneaux told KATC.
“He told her, ‘As soon as they kick the door in, I’m going to kill you,'” Arceneaux said his niece told him. “He stabbed her a few times and once they got closer, he stabbed her again. That’s why she hollered. He started stabbing her as they got close.”
Arceneaux’s cousin approached the home, kicked in the door 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.”
“She’s strong and she tried fighting. She said she tried fighting, but there was nothing she could do,” Arceneaux said.
“When I saw her come around the house on that four-wheeler full of blood, I was like, ‘She’s alive.’ She said, ‘My family came and got me,'” Arceneaux said his niece told him. “She said she knew we were coming and looking for her.”
Bethany Arceneaux suffered several stab wounds and was taken by ambulance to Lafayette General Medical Center, Judice said. She was released to her family Sunday.
When officers entered the house, they found Thomas’ lifeless body on the ground. He had sustained several gunshot wounds, police said.
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.
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.”
The Arceneaux family said they wished the ordeal had ended differently, but they believed they did what they had to do to save their loved one.
“I hate that it happened like this because I don’t feel like anyone should lose their life,” Arceneaux said. “My prayers go out to the Thomas family and I’m sorry for their loss, but we had to save our niece.”
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