Lafayette Police have arrested a man and accused him of kidnapping a child he knew, then fleeing from police into the river.
Nathaniel Zeno, 31, was booked into Lafayette Parish Correctional Center on the following charges of Aggravated Flight, Child Desertion, Simple Kidnapping and Domestic Abuse Battery.
Officers called the 1600 block of W. Pinhook Road, near the Pinhook Bridge at about noon on Wednesday. They were told that a woman was struck and shoved into a vehicle along with a child, and then a man drove the car away. Witnesses gave officers a description of the vehicle and his plate number.
Officers found the vehicle parked at a gas station, with a suspect inside and the child, who is 8. The mother was in the gas station, police say. The man fled when he saw police, and after a brief pursuit the man left the vehicle, with the child inside.
Lafayette officers, including a K-9 unit, set up a perimeter and they were able to arrest the suspect without incident, in the Vermilion River.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit was used to safely get the suspect back on land.
Lafayette Court records show Zeno has an extensive criminal history, going back to 2009. At least twice a restraining order was issued against him by former dating partners, once including the child of the woman requesting it. He was formally charged with domestic abuse by burning, but those charges were dropped, records show.
Records show he was sentenced to six years in prison in June 2021, with credit for time served, in exchange for a guilty plea to a charge of felon in possession of a firearm. His felony conviction was simple robbery, court records show. In return, the state dropped several charges against him - including the domestic abuse by burning charge. During the hearing, he asked the court to recommend him for substance abuse treatment and for the re-entry program. Louisiana's re-entry program usually lasts two years and provides an incarcerated person with intensive workforce development training, substance abuse therapy, educational resources, and vocational and rehabilitative training.
This is a developing story, we'll have more information as soon as it becomes available.