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Seven juveniles escape Bunkie detention center; two still wanted

This is the second time juveniles have escaped since the facility opened in March.
Posted at 11:50 AM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-18 21:30:41-05

BUNKIE — Two of the seven juveniles who escaped from the Acadiana Center for Youth in Avoylles Parish Sunday night are still at large.

Bunkie Police Chief Chief Scott Ferguson says one of the juveniles is from Lafayette, and the other one is from Jennings.

The escape happened around 8:15 p.m. Chief Ferguson says 10-12 juveniles overpowered a guard and attempted to climb a fence to escape. Seven of them were successful.

No guards were injured in the incident.

Police were able to find two of the suspects within a mile of the jail that same night. One of the two reportedly knocked on someone's door, asked to borrow a phone, and then stole it.

Around 6 a.m. on Monday, two more suspects were found at Stelly's in Lebeau. Another suspect was found in Opelousas around 8 a.m.

Police are also looking for a vehicle the two who remain on the run may be driving. They say a vehicle was stolen around the same time in the area. It's described as a brown 2010 Lincoln MKS with the license plate number DV40735.

According to the chief, he didn't know anything about the escape until almost a half hour after it happened.

"When I asked the guy how long it's been, he said about 20-30 minutes, they escaped. At that time, I had seen there was nobody there to run the show, so I just told them I was taking charge," said Ferguson.

The center opened in March. This is the second escape in nearly two months.

"They had an escape in September where three of them escaped. When I went out there, I saw they didn't have a contingency plan, and I seen they were running around not knowing what to do."

Ferguson says the staff was willing to come up with a plan on what to do when an inmate escapes.

The chief says the staff asked him if he would look over that plan, but two months have passed, and Ferguson says he hasn't heard from them.

According to a spokesperson for the Office of Juvenile Justice, they are figuring out a way to prevent this from happening again.

"Right now, everything is secure. The breach, however it happened last night, is being addressed," said Beth Touchet-Morgan. "After we apprehend all youth, then we go in and do a deeper after-action plan."

The chief is just hoping the detention center will work with his officers if there is a future escape.

"I'm not just worried about my town. The people that live within a certain range of my town, several miles out, that's still friends, still people that I know, and I'm worried about their safety."