Nov 9, 2013 12:40 PM by katc
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Department has released its official statement on the rescue of Bethany Arceneaux and the shooting death of her kidnapper, Scott Thomas.
Deputies say the preliminary results of their investigation indicate that Thomas likely died as a result of gunshot wound fired by a relative of Arceneaux.
Deputies say statements and physical evidence support the scenario that Thomas was holding Arceneaux against her will at knife point for over 30 hours after her abduction on Wednesday evening in the city of Lafayette.
Thomas' car was found on Wednesday night by Lafayette Police Investigators who were investigating her abduction the car was unoccupied off Anderson Road between Scott and Duson. A search involving Lafayette City Police, Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Deputies and Louisiana State Police began after 7 PM Wednesday and was called off after about 6 hours of negative results.
During the initial search, deputies say canine teams from LPD and LPSO were used to track and because State Police Helicopter and LPSO Airplane Unit were grounded due to cloud tops a Drone with a thermal imager mounted to it was used to search the dense Sugar Cane Fields.
On Thursday Lafayette PD assisted by LPSO and the Angola Blood Hound Tracking Team resumed the search off Anderson Road, that search was conducted from 9 AM until dusk with no additional evidence being located. Some of Arceneaux's family also arrived to help with the search but were asked to stand-down not to interfere with tracking dogs, the family members complied with the request.
On Friday Lafayette PD returned to the area and were met by family members who had organized their own search group, after a couple of hours just before 12 noon Friday a family member of Bethany Arceneaux heard what he believed to be a scream from inside an abandoned home in a cluster of trees in a hay field off Anderson Road. This family member was armed with a handgun and forced entry into the house through the back door. This structure was without any utilities therefore dark. The family member proceeded to where the noise was emitting and confronted Scott Thomas attacking Bethany with a knife, the relative shot his handgun several times apparently striking Thomas multiple times which allowed Bethany to break free and flee out the back door of the structure. Her relative also retreated. This all occurred while investigators with LPD were searching areas of the field the property is located on and initially the investigators did not know that family members had confronted the suspect and this caused a presumption that Thomas was armed with a gun and firing at investigators.
LPSO Special Reaction Team was called in and was to ultimately enter the home and locate Scott Thomas dead around 3 pm from apparent gunshot wounds, an autopsy will be conducted by the Lafayette Parish Coroner.
Deputies say the relative who fired the gunshots has not been charged with any crime, however he is cooperating with Investigators and a report will be reviewed by the District Attorney to determine if any charges will be filed. Louisiana State Law does allow for justifiable homicide when one acts in defense of himself or others.
Bethany Arceneaux suffered several stab wounds and is still being treated at Lafayette General Medical Center where she is expected to make a full recovery.