PONCHATOULA - An 18-year-old man accused of gunning down a 39-year-old Ponchatoula woman following a series of run-ins with her family is in custody, after being found hiding in the house of the victim.
The startling discovery was made by April Vander Linden's husband Brett as he returned to the crime scene to retrieve some clothes.
He said he saw the bulletproof jacket belonging to suspect Ryan Pourciau and immediately ran out of the house and police stormed inside.
Louisiana State Police spokesman Nicholas Manale said when officers got inside, they found Pourciau hiding under a bed, and when ordering him to raise his arms, police saw a gun and opened fire.
Pourciau was taken to the hospital after being hit in the shoulder. Manale said he was under heavy police guard. He was out of the hospital Wednesday night and placed in jail.
As of Thursday morning, his bond was yet to be set.
Shortly after April Vander Linden was shot and killed early Tuesday morning, police began a manhunt that included thermal imaging and helicopters. It is unclear if Pourciau had remained inside of the home after the incident or had returned to the scene, which had been under heavy police guard.
"We deserve justice," said Vander Linden's husband Brett. “April was my high school sweetheart and a wonderful mother to our kids."
According to officials, Pourciau had numerous run-ins with Vander Linden and her family, and was under court order to stay away from her teenage daughter.
On Tuesday, Ponchatoula high school was put on lockdown after Vander Linden was shot nearby around 7:30 a.m. She later died at the hospital.
Pourciau is facing first-degree murder charges and now an additional charge of aggravated burglary for being in the victim’s house.