In a story straight out of a made for television action movie, a man looking for his abducted cousin kicked down the back door of an abandoned house to rescue his cousin last week. During the incident, the man also shot and killed her kidnapper.
The surrounding community was in shock as none suspected the events that were taking place on the seemingly quiet street. And despite the fact that the man hunted down and killed his cousin’s kidnapper the shooting has been ruled justified by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Department.
In the interest of protecting the identities if the victim and the victim’s family, the cousin’s name was withheld by the sheriff’s department. The abduction victim was 29-year-old Bethany Arceneaux who reportedly knew her abductor.
Arceneaux disappeared Wednesday night. Thomas’ car was found that night abandoned behind a cane field about a mile from a road. After making a complete search of the area after the cousin’s disappearance, family members came across an area where they felt a strong suspicion that Arceneaux might be. Those suspicions were confirmed when the cousin heard Arceneaux’s voice.
According to witnesses, the cousin said he heard screams from a nearby house as he stood on the sidewalk. Whether it was luck or careful planning, no one would say, but the cousin said he actually saw a man start stabbing Bethany Arceneaux. At that point, he broke through the door and fired several shots with a handgun. The cousin told police he wasn’t sure if he hit the kidnapper because the house was so dark.
Inside, police officers found the unresponsive body of Scott Thomas. According to the family, Thomas has a child with Arceneaux and had previously violated a restraining order protecting her.
Arceneaux was hospitalized with wounds but is expected to make a full recovery. The child was not involved in the incident and was not reported to have been injured in the melee.
Interestingly enough, police and bloodhounds had searched the area without success the day before the family located Arceneaux. The following morning, police were met by about 20 relatives who decided to organize their own search party.
Officers and relatives searched the area until about noon, when one of the family members found the house. Local authorities say that the family just happened to be at the right place at the right time and were able to prevent a possible tragedy for Arceneaux.
After a careful investigation, the sheriff’s department concluded the cousin acted within his rights. In Louisiana, a state law that allows deadly force to be used in preventing great bodily harm or death. It is likely that the case also will be reviewed by the district attorney. However, many believe that given the circumstances, no charges will be filed.
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