LAFAYETTE — Once he shot the lock off and kicked in the back door of the long-abandoned house, Marcus Arceneaux heard his kidnapped cousin Bethany Arceneaux.
“Help. He is killing me,” Bethany screamed.
“Beth, where are you?” Marcus said, hardly able to see inside the dark house in rural west Lafayette Parish, near Duson.
Bethany was panicking, trying to fend off her ex-lover, Scott Thomas, as he stabbed her in the face, neck and head.
Remembering the handgun he gripped had a flashlight attached, Marcus Arceneaux switched it on.
“Once the light was on, (Marcus) Arceneaux saw a lot of blood, and (Bethany) Arceneaux was yelling ‘He is killing me,’ ” Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office Detective Mike Fincher says in a report, one of many detailing Bethany Arceneaux’s kidnapping and the events that followed.
Details on Arceneaux’s almost two days of captivity, Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, are contained in a multi-file report comprising hundreds of pages, interview-driven narratives and dozens of photos.
The files were released after a request to the Lafayette Parish District Attorney’s Office, citing Louisiana’s Open Records Laws.
Some parts of the report that contain Bethany Arceneaux’s statements were redacted at the request of Arceneaux and her attorney, Alfred Boustany III, said Pat Magee, a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office.
“As Bethany has been and still is traumatized from this horrific event, we felt the right thing to do in this instance would be to honor her request,” Magee said in a letter that accompanied the files.
In the months since her ordeal, Arceneaux has declined repeated requests for an interview.
At 5:20 p.m. Nov. 6, Arceneaux picked up her toddler son after work at Archie’s Day Care on Madeline Street. Also arriving was the boy’s father — Thomas, her former boyfriend — who was violating a court order to stay away from Arceneaux.
Thomas got out of his old, white Buick LaSabre. Arceneaux, with the child in her arms, ran toward the day care center to get away, according to a report by Sheriff’s Detective Monika Porter.
“(Thomas) began striking Ms. Arceneaux … and Ms. Arceneaux managed to run to the day care’s front door,” Porter said, citing a witness who lives on Madeline Street.
The witness said she saw Thomas and Arceneaux in a fight, falling “to the ground with the baby in Ms. Arceneaux’s arms.”
The witness ran to the fight and “removed the baby from Ms. Arceneaux’s arms after begging (Thomas) to allow her to take him.” The woman took the boy inside a nearby hair salon until police arrived, the report says.
Two hours after Thomas sped off with Arceneaux, she called her sister, who at that moment was speaking to Detective Porter.
Hitting the speaker phone switch, Porter heard Bethany tell her sister to take care of her little boy.
“When are you coming to pick (him) up?” Bethany’s sister asked.
“No, I need you to take care of him for life. … Just take care of him for me,” Bethany responded, then hung up.
Meanwhile, officers with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Lafayette Police Department searched the Anderson Road area, where Thomas’ abandoned Buick was found. That night, before the weather got bad, officers flew a drone with night vision, but without success.
The next day, Thursday, hounds were unleashed in the area, but again the weather got bad, according to Detective Fincher’s report.
On Friday, a man who lives nearby told a search party composed of Arceneaux family members that he saw something near an abandoned house obscured by trees, tree limbs and other foliage. Family members, many of them armed, had been searching on foot and four-wheelers.
Just before noon they gathered at the front of the house. And they heard Bethany scream.
Marcus Arceneaux, Bethany’s cousin, was not yet 20 years old at the time. He ran to the rear of the house with a handgun, shot the lock, then entered the dwelling and, in the dark, fired a single shot at Thomas.
Then, with the light on the gun switched on, he saw his cousin’s blood everywhere.
“He is killing me,” cried Bethany, who lay on top of Thomas.
Thomas “was stabbing her like he was using her as a shield, and Mr. Thomas was wrapped around her very tight using his legs and arms,” Pincher wrote. “Ms. Arceneaux continued to roll around and she continued to say ‘He stabbed me in the head.’”
To make him let her go, Pincher wrote, Marcus Arceneaux shot Thomas in a leg, then in the ribs. Thomas dropped the knife and Bethany was able to roll off.
“Mr. Thomas then retrieved the knife again and stood to go after Mr. Arceneaux. Mr. Arceneaux then shot him again,” the report said.
Family members brought Bethany to Lafayette General Medical Center.
Thomas died from his wounds on the floor of the abandoned house.
On April 23, a Lafayette Parish grand jury cleared Marcus Arceneaux, now 20, of wrongdoing.