PONCHATOULA, La. - Crime scene tape casts a grim shadow over a nice home in a nice Ponchatoula neighborhood Tuesday. But Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards says the family inside had been plagued with trouble for some time.
“I can tell you we have been called to the victim's residence a number of times to take complaints," he said.
The shooting death of 39-year-old April Vanderlinden could be tied to those complaints, which the sheriff says may have involved the relationship between the victim’s teenage daughter and 18-year-old Ryan Pourciau, who lives in the same neighborhood and is a person of interest in the murder.
"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," Edwards said.
That protective order filed with the court system in February says Pourciau shoved, stalked and threatened Vanderlinden’s daughter. Jail records show Pourciau was released from the parish jail last month for simple assault and pornography involving a juvenile.
Also in March, a judge ordered a permanent injunction keeping Pourciau from the girl, saying he had to stay 100 feet from her home, job and school, and cease all communications with her, along with attending a domestic abuse program.
However, an exception was written into the order allowing Pourciau to continue attending school until graduation and remain living around the corner from the teen.
Ponchatoula High School was on lockdown through the entire incident, not just because of how close it is to the scene, but because authorities say the suspect has ties to the school.
"Ryan Pourciau, at least, was a student at Ponchatoula High School,” said Edwards, “Whether or not he was actually attending classes, I don't know that. I do know that the victim's daughter attended the school as well."
Now, several law enforcement agencies continue the search for Pourciau, while the Vanderlindens are under police protection.
The school canceled extra-curricular activities for the day and the district superintendent says decisions about any changes to Wednesday’s school schedule at Ponchatoula High will be determined as the evening, and the search for Pourciau, progresses.