UPDATE, 2/24/23, 11:45 P.M.: St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office confirming that Richard has been captured.
ORIGINAL, 2/24/23, 4:33 A.M.: OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) — Authorities in St. Landry Parish are still searching for an inmate who escaped Thursday afternoon. The inmate was on work release detail at an Opelousas church when he fled from deputies.
St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby Guidroz says Antonio Richard, 19, was working as a trustee at an Opelousas church when he took off running towards a passing truck, jumped in, and sped away. He says while inmates are not supposed to know where they will be working, he believes this inmate made previous arrangements while inside the jail.
Although Richard was in jail for home invasion and aggravated second degree battery, Sheriff Guidroz says he does not believe Richard is a threat to the community as they continue their search.
“It’s important to realize we have people looking for him and information coming in already, so if he’s watching, we’re going to get you,” the sheriff said. “We have got people out there in his neighborhood, so he feels the heat. You can bet on that.”
Richard is the second inmate to escape from the St. Landry Parish Jail in a month.
“The first one escaped from the lineup at the courthouse, and there were probably six inmates at that time in a group with three deputies escorting him back to the van, to get into the van to bring him back to the jail. This particular inmate was able to escape,” Sheriff Guidroz said.
That inmate was ultimately captured. Sheriff Guidroz says his office is now looking to take more preventative measures.
“I got to tell you. There’s no excuse for it because I think our deputies either need to increase the number of security when we’re picking up a number of inmates or use a better restraining device on the whole crew at one time so we don’t have this happen again,” he told News Ten.
He adds Richard was working as a trustee when he escaped Thursday. He says he believes the staff who appoint trustees need to make good decisions.
“That decision is not made by the sheriff. It is made by the jail staff because they interact with them everyday. They see how they act. They kind of build a little reputation with the jailers, and sometimes the jailers or the supervisors in the jail make a bad call and assign one of the trustees. That’s what happened in this case,” Sheriff Guidroz said.
He added, “I wish I could tell you that it’s not going to happen again. We’re certainly going to implement more stringent rules regarding that. Two in a month is too much.”
Sheriff Guidroz says he does believe Richard is still in the Opelousas area. If you see him or know where he is, contact the sheriff’s office.