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Juvenile jail escapees drove stolen car to capital area, one likely armed with stolen guns

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UPDATE: Juvenile escapee Damarion Simmons was captured by Pointe Coupee sheriff's deputies Sunday afternoon along Parent Street in New Roads.

Read the original story below:


NEW ROADS - A juvenile suspect arrested in a string of burglaries in Pointe Coupee Parish was among two teenage suspects who escaped a detention center Wednesday night. Deputies now believe he's armed and back in the capital area.

The Pointe Coupee Sheriff's Office said Damarion Simmons, 16, is still at large. The second escapee, 16-year-old Brenden Hebert, was taken into custody Friday morning at a gas station on US 61 when troopers found him in a stolen vehicle.

According to the sheriff's office, the teens broke out of a facility in St. Martin Parish around 7 p.m. Wednesday. The two then allegedly stole a car and drove to New Roads, where Simmons parted ways with the other teen.

Deputies believe Simmons is still in the area and is carrying three firearms stolen from St. Martinville. Reports suggested he was trying to burglarize property in New Roads around 1:30 Friday morning.

Sheriff Rene Thibodeaux said Simmons was seen by deputies Saturday night in Pointe Coupee Parish, but Simmons took off before authorities could capture him.

Sheriff Thibodeaux urged residents in the area to lock their doors and stay on the lookout for Simmons. The sheriff is also offering a $500 reward for information leading to the teen's capture. 

Simmons was recently arrested for his role in a burglary ring highlighted by The WBRZ Investigative Unit.

This is Simmons' third escape from a secure facility. The first happened from the Bridge City Center for Youth on November 21. He was recaptured and escaped from the Acadiana Center for Youth in December. He escaped a third time last night.

"I told the staff here two weeks ago I would give him a month and he would be back out on the streets again," Pointe Coupee Parish's Chief Deputy Brad Joffrion said. "This is the history of what he does. Here we are two weeks and we're dealing with it again."

The Office of Juvenile Justice issued a statement that a command center was being set up to gather information on where the teen might be. The department said "human error" played a role in Simmons' latest escape. 

"I am very very frustrated with OJJ," Joffrion said. "Something needs to happen. We can't continue on this path. We see on the news every night with the juvenile crime. This particular juvenile has been incarcerated on numerous occasions and they cannot keep him detained."

OJJ told WBRZ they were looking into how the teens escaped. The agency said it was too early to tell if any employees would face discipline.

Anyone with information on the escapee's whereabouts is asked to contact the sheriff's office at (225)694-3737.


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