29-year-old Bethany Arceneaux, who was kidnapped by her child’s abusive father earlier this week, was returned home battered–but otherwise safe by her family. In a heroic rescue, Arceneaux’s family located her and her captor and extracted her with only one casualty–the bad guy.
Bethany was taken from her car by her son’s father, Scott Thomas (29), in front of the day care their son attends. Leaving their two year old child unattended in Bethany’s car, Father of the Year reject Thomas forced her into his Buick LeSabre and drove off.
Thomas has a history of abuse–having previously locked her in a house and threatened to kill her on multiple occasions. A restraining issue, issued on June 17, had previously been violated by Thomas. He was previously arrested on August 8 and charged with aggravated assault and aggravated flight from an officer.
Arceneaux’s family begged for Scott to return her safely, frantically searching for signs of her. Bethany’s family received a tip that Thomas was holding her in an abandoned house near Anderson and Fieldspan road. Police, it seemed, were not acting on the tip (they were searching elsewhere), so Bethany’s family leapt into action!
They assembled a group of six people and converged on the house, finding their loved one bloodied, screaming for help. Bethany had been stabbed multiple times. “We found her. We went and got her in that house. We kicked doors down. It was like a movie unfolding,” Bethany’s brother Ryan said of the incident.
They also found her captor, still attacking her with a knife; Thomas ended up on the wrong side of a bullet in the ensuing confrontation.
Police Captain Kip Judice says that the family members fired their weapons because they believed Arceneaux’s life to be in danger , but did not make it clear if any of them would face charges. Cheney Joseph, a law professor at LSU Law Center, says that it is unlikely they will face charges:
“Private individuals as well as law enforcement officers can rely on the concept of ‘defense of others’ when the other is facing a threat of death or great bodily harm.”
The family, says Judice, would be protected by the Defense of Others law, La. R.S. 14:22, which states that “It is justifiable to use force or violence or to kill in the defense of another person when it is reasonably apparent that the person attacked could have justifiably used such means himself, and when it is reasonably believed that such intervention is necessary to protect the other person,” and La. R.S. 14:20, which states that a homicide is justifiable if a person “reasonably believes that such an offense is about to be committed and that such action is necessary for its prevention. The circumstances must be sufficient to excite the fear of a reasonable person that there would be serious danger to his own life or person if he attempted to prevent the felony without the killing.”