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Police: Baby in stolen car returned to family

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Posted at 2:24 PM, Jun 29, 2021

An 8-month-old baby who was in a car that was stolen today has been found and is fine, police say.

The child was reunited with family on Tuesday afternoon following the incident.

Police were called to 2001 N.W. Evangeline Thruway just before 1 p.m.

A woman told police that she had left the baby in a vehicle that was left running so the air conditioning stayed on. The lady told police that the car was locked, a spokeswoman said.

But an unknown man jumped into the car and drove away, she said.

Police found the car, with the baby unharmed, in St. Landry Parish. State Police are with the car and the baby, and the baby is fine, police say.

"I said a prayer and it's not even an hour has passed by, and the cops come to me and tell me my grandbaby is okay and she is coming home," said the baby's grandmother Genevieve Walker. "I'm just thanking God because I made a horrible mistake by going look for my daughter and leaving my grandbaby, but I'm thanking God that she's okay and she's coming home."

The safe return of the child is in part because of a near accident on I-49. A man who swerved to avoid hitting the car is now being called a Good Samaritan.

Mitch Broach says he was driving on I-49 north and switched lanes because the car was only driving about 20 miles per hour. He slammed on his brakes because he was about to rear-end the car, then ended up in the ditch and contacted police.

When they arrived on scene, he found out the car was stolen and a baby was inside. His RV had to be towed, but Broach says he's just thankful that his phone call was able to help.

"That's just material. The baby is fine, the sheriff's department has it. The baby was happy and she's going to see her mom, so that's all that matters," adds Broach.

Under arrest in this case is Eric LaSalle; he was booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail and is facing a charge for a stolen vehicle. More charges are pending out of Lafayette, and State Police say their investigation is ongoing.

Lafayette Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of the incident. We'll have more as the story develops.