Vehicle stolen with baby inside, child found safely in St. Landry Parish
ST. LANDRY PARISH - Authorities discovered an eight-month-old girl in a stolen vehicle along St. Landry Parish's N.W. Evangeline Thruway Tuesday afternoon, according to KATC.
Authorities say they were able to return the baby to her family shortly after the automobile and its precious cargo were discovered.
According to KATC, it all started when a woman told police she'd temporarily left a child in a locked vehicle that was left on so that the air conditioning could continue running.
The woman added that a stranger, a male, then gained access to the locked vehicle and drove away with the baby inside.
A short time later, authorities were called to 2001 N.W. Evangeline Thruway where they recovered the car, with the little girl unharmed.
Incidentally, the little girl was discovered as a result of a near-accident on I-49 involving a citizen who was driving along I-49 and had to swerve to avoid hitting the stolen vehicle.
Mitch Broach told KATC he was behind the wheel of an RV on I-49 north, and found himself behind an exceptionally slow-moving car that was only driving about 20 miles per hour.
Broach said he slammed on his brakes because he was about to rear-end the car, and ended up in a nearby ditch, which is when he contacted police.
When they arrived, he found out the slow-moving car had been stolen and a baby was inside.
Though his RV had to be towed, Broach says he's just thankful that his phone call was able to help.
The child's grandmother, Genevieve Walker, is even more thankful.
Walker told KATC, "I said a prayer and it's not even an hour has passed by, and the cops come to me and tell me my grandbaby is okay and she is coming home. I'm just thanking God because I made a horrible mistake by going look for my daughter and leaving my grandbaby, but I'm thanking God that she's okay and she's coming home."
According to KATC, local police arrested one suspect in connection with the theft of the vehicle. A man identified as Eric LaSalle was booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail and is facing a charge for a stolen vehicle and additional charges are pending out of Lafayette.
Louisiana State Police are also investigating the incident.