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Search continues for women's prison escapee

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ST. GABRIEL- Authorities said the woman who escaped overnight from a state prison in St. Gabriel was serving a 25-year sentence for manslaughter, and offered a reward for information leading to her capture.

St. Gabriel Police Chief Kevin Ambeau said 33-year-old Keana Barnes climbed over a fence at the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women escape early Tuesday morning. 

According to the Department of Corrections, Barnes is from the New Orleans area and came into their custody in 2004. She's described as 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds, with dark brown eyes and brown hair, though the prison said she shaved her head last week.

When police arrested her in 2003, she was on the run after killing her boyfriend in New Orleans. Reports show she was finally captured in Mexico, before being sentenced to 25-years at LCIW.

State prison officials said Barnes should be considered armed and dangerous, and offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to her capture. Tips on Barnes' location can be called in to the LCIW Control Center at (225) 319-2300.

It's the second escape in less than a week from the state prison campus in St. Gabriel. Authorities re-captured Josh Kelly on Dec. 28 after he escaped from the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center next door to LCIW. Prison officials said he overpowered an EMT and drove the campus in their ambulance. He was caught later that day in Ascension Parish.

Residents in the area say they're upset they weren't alerted to either of the escapes.

"I think as a resident living right across the street from the prisons, the police department should at least come knock on our doors, and let us know that there's been an escape, so we can keep a watch out and be a little extra safer than we are, but we didn't get any phone calls," said Susan Livaudais, who lives next to the prisons.

Chief Ambeau says he plans to work with the two wardens to improve their alert system.

IMAGE: La. Dept. of Public Safety and Corrections



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