LORANGER - A massive manhunt involving nearly three dozen officers on foot, in four-wheel vehicles and in choppers continued for an escaped work-release inmate who kidnapped his ex-girlfriend and led deputies on a chase before crashing a vehicle and eluding police.
Christopher Ricker, 35, escaped from the troubled Northshore Work Force building around 4 a.m. Sheriff's Office officials said that around 8:30 a.m., they received a call from a woman stating that she had been abducted by Ricker from her job at a Covington convenience store.
Ricker allegedly held the ex-girlfriend against her will before kicking her out of the Toyota Camry on Wardine Road.
Ricker was soon located by deputies traveling on Hwy 442 in Loranger, and after a short pursuit, Ricker crashed his vehicle into a tree near Cherokee Beach, exited his Camry, and jumped into the river.
Ricker was then observed to be headed east on foot.
Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s deputies, St. Tammany deputies and state and federal agents surrounded the area and had K9's on the ground.
Anyone having information on the whereabouts of Ricker, is asked to call 911 immediately.
Some residents in the area were nervous, but at least one man planned on protecting his own loved ones if Ricker crossed his path.
"I've got an 81-year-old father in there," said Marshall Harper, pointing toward his home. "My sister-in-law is with my little nephew over here. I gotta be working, but I gotta stay here. He crosses the road, he belongs to me."
Ricker was serving a sentence for theft and was scheduled to be released in October.