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Juvenile inmates escape youth facility, St. Martinville residents express concern

Posted at 9:47 AM, May 18, 2023

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. — UPDATE: One of two teenagers who escaped from Acadiana Center for Youth in St. Martinville has been caught.

The facility is located on Terrace Highway in St. Martinville.

The search for the two juvenile inmates that escaped from the Acadian Youth Center began on May 17.

The center reported the two missing on Wednesday afternoon. There has been a heavy police presence in St. Martinville since then, using drones and 4-wheelers to locate the 17-year-old and 16-year-old males both from Calcasieu Parish.

KATC reached out to the Office of Juvenile Justice which manages the facility to ask if the escapees are considered dangerous, but OJJ stated, "due to the confidential nature of juvenile records, OJJ cannot release information pertaining to youth to the media. OJJ has released full information to law enforcement to aid in their apprehension."

This is not the first time inmates have escaped from the facility.

At least four juveniles escaped from the center in 2022, which has previously been the subject of investigations by NBC, The Marshall Project, ProPublica, and The New York Times. The investigations can be read in more detail here.

St. Martinville residents have expressed concerned and say breakouts from the facility are unacceptable.

"The fact they can escape, I can guarantee you the security is probably not where it needs to be," said Kevin Maresh. "They really need to buckle down and do what they need to do cause otherwise it's gonna keep happening cause it's been happening since I was a teenager and it's never gonna stop."

Anyone with information or sightings of the remaining escapee are urged to keep away and call local law enforcement.