The manhunt for a Lafayette businessman wanted in a bizarre kidnapping that has played out across multiple parishes this week ended Friday with the 49-year-old's man capture in Slidell.
Lawrence Michael Handley was arrested and booked in the Slidell City Jail as a fugitive following his arrest by Slidell police and members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force.
Det. Daniel Seuzeneau, a spokesman for the Slidell Police Department, said Handley was apprehended around 4 p.m. Friday at motel located off Old Spanish Trail in Slidell — ending a manhunt that had stretched four days.
Handley, the co-founder and former CEO of a chain of addiction treatment centers throughout the region, was wanted by The Lafayette Police Department since Monday on conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to attempted second-degree kidnapping and violation of a protective order.
Authorities believe he may have orchestrated the kidnapping of a woman who was found alive in West Baton Rouge Parish several hours after two men snatched her from her Lafayette home Sunday afternoon.
The home was one Handley previously shared with his estranged wife. Police have yet to confirm whether the victim was Handley's wife.
Court records in Lafayette show that Handley has been involved in acrimonious divorce proceedings that included allegations of violent threats. Handley and his wife each obtained court orders restricting both parties from contact with each other.
Police reported earlier this week that two armed men barged into the home, handcuffed an adult and a juvenile and placed a black bag over the head of a female victim who was forced inside a white van.
The victim was discovered handcuffed in the back of the van in West Baton Rouge Parish after her abductors abandoned it trying to evade police. The pair attracted police attention along Interstate 10 when they tried to avoid a traffic pile-up by driving down the shoulder of the highway.
The two men, both 27 and from Jackson, Mississippi, drowned in the waters of the Intracoastal Waterway in Port Allen while trying to get away from police. They had extensive criminal records, including arrests in a previous kidnapping a decade ago, armed robbery, assault, burglary and other crimes.
The two suspected kidnappers of a Lafayette woman and who drowned while fleeing police both …
Seuzeneau said Handley will be transported back to Lafayette to face the charges related to the kidnapping.
Cpl. Bridgett Dugas, a spokesperson for the Lafayette Police Department, said Friday evening that investigators plan to question Handley once he's in their custody.
Once a successful computer consultant, Handley struggled with alcoholism before co-founding Townsend with a single Lafayette clinic in 2007, records show. It grew over the next several years to include clinics throughout South Louisiana. Tennessee-based American Addiction Centers Inc. purchased the business in a $21 million deal at the end of 2015.
Handley initially remained with the company but left not long after the sale, according to a former colleague and business associate.