A woman who was abducted in Louisiana last week is recovering from her ordeal, after family members and others found her in an abandoned house. Her alleged captor was shot and killed in the confrontation that followed.
Bethany Arceneaux was allegedly kidnapped last Wednesday by her child’s father, Scott Thomas, in a dramatic scene outside a daycare center, according to police in Duson, La. Her two-year-old son was left in the car she’d been driving. Arcenaux wasn’t seen for nearly three days; eventually, her family got a tip that she might be at an abandoned house in a field.
About a half-dozen of Arceneaux’s relatives, including her brothers, used four-wheel all-terrain vehicles to get to the area. As they approached the house, they heard her calling out for help, family members told The Daily Advertiser of Lafayette Parish. That’s when they forced their way into the house and found Thomas and Arceneaux.
Police say that as Thomas attacked Arcenaux with a knife, one of her relatives shot and wounded him. They were then able to leave the house with Arceneaux.
“She’s shook up, she’s sliced up, but she’s alright,” Ryan Arceneaux said of his sister. “We found her. We went and got her in that house. We kicked doors down. It was like a movie unfolding.”
He added that if the family had waited to get the police involved, “she would have been dead.”
Police arrived on the scene to find family members outside and Thomas still in the house; a standoff ensued that ended hours later, when they entered the house and found him dead, reports The Advocate.
Several days after the rescue, no charges have been filed in Thomas’s death. LSU law professor Cheney Joseph Jr. cites a “defense of others” concept in state law, which allows for extreme measures to protect someone from great harm.
“The man began harming her. He [Arceneaux's relative] did what he needed to do to stop that aggressive behavior from Mr. Thomas,” Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Kip Judice tells The Advertiser. “We have to put all the information together before we can comment further on the extent of that confrontation.”
Tuesday, Judice said, “We have interviewed the shooter in the case and we did not arrest him,” CBS News reports.
Judice added that all of the evidence in the case, along with the results of an autopsy on Thomas’s body, would be sent to the district attorney for a final review and a possible grand jury hearing.
The case has drawn wide attention, leading the Arceneaux family to issue a statement today in which they thanked those who aided the search for their relative. They also asked for privacy.
“We are forever grateful for the endless amount of support and prayers received from everyone during this difficult time. We the Arceneaux family would also like to extend our support and condolences to the entire Thomas family and we want them to know they will forever be in our prayers,” the statement reads.
“Repaying everyone for their time, effort and prayers may not be feasible, but please know that anything and everything you did was greatly appreciated,” the family said.