Search continues for escapee who jumped in river to avoid capture

Christopher Ricker (Source: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office)
Christopher Ricker (Source: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office)

LORANGER, LA (WAFB) - The search is ongoing for an inmate that escaped from a work-release site early Thursday morning and now, more money is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office is hunting for Christopher Ricker, 35, of Loranger, after his escape from the St. Tammany Work Release Program in Covington. The search is focusing on the Loranger area.

Deputies said a possible sighting of Ricker was reported around 11 p.m. Thursday. There are searchers on the ground, on the water and in the air looking for the suspect. Sheriff Daniel Edwards announced an additional $1,000 is being offered for information leading to Ricker's arrest. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call Crime Stoppers at 800-554-5245.

Deputies said a woman called 911 around 8:30 a.m. Thursday to report she had been abducted from her workplace in the Covington area. She told investigators the suspect held her against her will as he drove to Tangipahoa Parish. The victim added she was put out of her 1999 blue Toyota Camry on Wardline Road in Loranger and the suspect drove off in her car.

According to reports, deputies spotted Ricker on LA 442 in Loranger and after a short chase, the suspect crashed into a tree near Cherokee Beach. However, the chase did not end there. Investigators said Ricker got out of the car and jumped into the river. He was then seen running in an eastward direction.

TPSO surrounded the area with deputies and K9s, but the suspect has so far been able to avoid capture.

According to WVUE, investigators believe the abducted woman was Ricker's ex-girlfriend. He was reportedly serving a 3-year sentence for theft and was scheduled to be released in October.

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