Neighbors tense amid search for person of interest in Ponchatoula murder

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 23, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 23 at 11:02 PM

Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News
Email: ssatchfield@wwltv.com | Twitter: @satchfield

PONCHATOULA. La. -- Late Tuesday afternoon, detectives continued combing the typically quiet Ponchatoula subdivision where, hours earlier, someone shot and killed 39-year-old April Vanderlinden.

Gene Fletcher, who lives across the street from the victim, recalled tense moments when the gunfire erupted.

"I was out here in the yard and I heard two shots about two seconds apart,” he said.

Fletcher and other neighbors called 911, and when police arrived they found Vanderlinden suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. She died a short time later.

Tuesday night, the search continued for an 18-year-old person of interest, Ryan Pourciau, who officials said had numerous run-ins with Vanderlinden and family, and was under court order to stay away from her teenage daughter.

"We obtained a warrant, seems to be on April the 18th or 19th, saying that Mr. Pourciau had violated the restraining order by walking in front of this house repeatedly," said Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards.

Pourciau attended Ponchatoula High School this year, although officials were unsure if he was still enrolled.

Tuesday, the school’s campus was placed on lockdown.

With Pourciau’s whereabouts unknown, some neighbors said they’re on edge.

"This don't happen here. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody looks out for everybody, and number one, not in Ponchatoula and number two, not in Brookfield Trace. We're just shocked," said Cheryl Bertaut. "The person of interest lived in the subdivision as well, from what we understand, and him being at-large, still, is not very comforting. We'd like to know that he's been captured and taken in and taken care of and questioned."

Classes will resume as normal at Ponchatoula High Wednesday, although extra security will be on hand, officials said.

 

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