Escapee captured in Tangipahoa
HAMMOND - The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office announced late Friday that Christopher Ricker is back in custody. The announcement provided no further details about where or how the escapee from a St. Tammany Parish inmate work program was found or his condition.
Ricker walked away from Northshore Workforce, where he was serving a sentence for theft, about 4 a.m. Thursday. He is accused of abducting his ex-girlfriend shortly afterwards in Covington and driving her to Tangipahoa Parish. She was able to get out of the car on Wardline Road in Hammond, Tangipahoa sheriff's spokeswoman Dawn Panepinto said.
Deputies then spotted Ricker driving on Hwy. 442 in Loranger. Chased by law enforcement, Ricker crashed his vehicle into a tree near Cherokee Beach and jumped into the river.
Investigators from several agencies participated in the intense search that followed.
Within hours of the escape, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain announced that he was closing the Northshore Workforce program and moving its nearly 150 participants back to the parish jail temporarily, according to a news release from his office.
Strain said three inmates walking away from job sites recently and Ricker's escape Thursday from the facility itself convinced him that it needed to be closed, the news release said. The sheriff's office is working with the state Department of Corrections to determine where the program participants will now be housed.