A man who was wanted in Georgia for sex crimes, and who ran away from a deputy while handcuffed, was captured in the woods in Gonzales on Tuesday afternoon after a 20-hour search.
He still had his handcuffs on, authorities said.
The chase began soon after Ricardo Rodriguez, 22, had been arrested at a local business on Monday, said Lt. Col. Bobby Webre, with the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Rodriguez is wanted on a sex crimes warrant from authorities in Gwinnett County, Georgia.
About 5 p.m., the necessary paperwork was finished, and a deputy led Rodriguez toward a patrol unit parked at a Sheriff’s Office building on Airline Highway near La. 74, Webre said.
They were just feet from the car when, with his hands cuffed behind his back, Rodriguez took off running, escaping behind the building and into the woods, Webre said.
From there, deputies lost track of him. But they figured he might not be going far, since he had been renting a house less than 2 miles away.
Deputies used an alert system to warn residents about a missing person, and set up a perimeter that lasted into the night.
A tip came at 2 p.m. Tuesday. A resident called deputies to say a man was walking through the woods near Coontrap Road.
The authorities closed in, and spotted Rodriguez, who tried to run again, this time toward Forrest Braud Lane, Webre said. Rodriguez was captured about 2 miles from the building where he had bolted.
Rodriguez was still wearing the handcuffs from the previous day.
He probably spent the night hiding in the woods, Webre said.
To make the arrest, deputies removed the old handcuffs and put on a fresh pair — just in case the old ones had been tampered with. They also added ankle cuffs, which isn’t part of protocol, but “on this one, you’re not getting away again,” Webre said.
Rodriguez, whose address is unknown, was ultimately booked on counts of simple escape, theft and resisting an officer, as well as the fugitive warrant from the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Department, which is based in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Webre couldn’t recall a similar situation when an arrested person ran away, but he added, “In our business, it can happen. We always say nothing is routine.”
Follow Daniel Bethencourt on Twitter, @_dbethencourt.