Court filings allege Lafayette man organized kidnapping of estranged wife
LAFAYETTE - New court filings in Lafayette kidnapping suspect Michael Handley's divorce case allege he organized the plot to abduct his estranged wife.
Last week, authorities captured Handley at a Slidell motel. According to KATC-TV, Handley is still in the Lafayette Parish jail with a $266,000 bond.
Police have not identified the victim as Handley's wife, but documents show that Handley and his wife had been in a divorce dispute right before the kidnapping occurred.
In those documents, the female victim alleged Handley plotted the kidnapping from the couple's shared home in Woodville, Mississippi. Handley hired the kidnappers, Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes, to abduct the woman. The victim also says Handley purchased the kidnapping items to "bind, torture and abuse" her.
She alleges that after she was taken from her Lafayette home, the abductors "stripped, tortured and abused" her. The kidnappers attracted police attention after driving along I-10 in West Baton Rouge Parish during stopped traffic.
Authorities followed the van until it became stuck in the mud and the kidnappers fled on foot. The two drowned in the Intracoastal Canal while evading capture. Their bodies were found the next afternoon.
Records show Handley co-founded and served as the CEO of Townsend, a group of substance abuse treatment centers in Louisiana. In 2005, Handley was convicted of fraud and now faces two counts of conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping as well as a count of online impersonation.
A court date in the case has not been set as formal criminal charges have not been filed at this time.