Posted: Feb 9, 2012 10:56 PM
Updated: Feb 9, 2012 10:57 PM
An alert by State Police Friday night had everyone on edge. A child abduction in Avoyelles parish and the suspect was the child's father. He was believed to be in Evangeline Parish.
Just five hours later, the child was recoverd and suspect in jail. Saturday morning Corey Gautreaux was booked where he spent the entire weekend, facing a charge of simple kidnapping. Now Gautreaux is speaking out, saying he should have never been arrested.
"I'm not a bad father. I would never hurt her. It never should have been like this," Gautreaux told us this afternoon.
Corey Gautreaux is three year old Riley's biological father. He never married her mother, and he says he has only had a verbal custody agreement with her.
Gauteaux says "it was a personal agreement, and now it's going on paper so no one interferes with me and my child again."
Gautreaux says he went to pick his child up from her maternal grandmother's house Friday afternoon like usual and didn't have any indication he wasn't welcome that day.
He tells us "she said you can come in. At the same time I'm picking up my little girl, grandma jumped on me."
Gautreaux says the woman jumped on him. Police say, he battered the woman.
Gautreaux had four teeth knocked out, as he said he's holding his little girl.
He immediately went to his vehicle and left the residence.
Gautreaux's mom, Donna Allen, said when she heard what happened, she immediately went to see the grandmother, initially believing what police had said.
Allen says she was told by the maternal grandmother a similar story Corey would echo later when asked.
Allen says the other grandmother told her the child ran up to Gautreaux, and for some reason just got angry, and jumped on him.
Fast forward now to midnight. Gautreaux's mom says she starts getting texts saying Corey's picture was on the news, and he was wanted for kidnapping.
She called the child's mother to tell her the toddler was fine and was at Gautreaux's house in Evangeline Parish, but she didn't get an answer.
Allen said she told detectives in Avoyelles Parish that earlier that afternoon where he was and couldn't understand why they didn't just call him before sending his picture out.
Within five minutes of Allen calling the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office to ask for help, the Marshals came into the home to arrest Gautreaux.
Allen questioned why they waited until the middle of the night if she wrote directions to her house for detectives earlier that afternoon if they needed her son.
She says "no, my son's face is splattered all over TV for the world to see. To make him to look like a horrible person who beats up elderly people and steals children."
"Next thing you know I wake up in cuffs, and my little girl isn't there," says Gautreaux. "And I didn't see her again."
Gautreaux still hasn't seen his child, but has gone before a judge and is scheduled to see her next week.
The maternal side of the family declined an on camera interview.
Repeated calls to the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff's Office went unanswered.
Some of our questions remain unanswered tonight including the following:
Can someone be charged with kidnapping if they are the legal parent and there are no custody agreements in place?
What are the criteria police must reach before a statewide bulletin is issued?
Was any attempt made to contact Gautreaux before the Marshal's Office went into the home to arrest him.
We'll follow up on this story Friday.