WALKER, LA (WAFB) - Officials said the search has been called off for fugitive Dennis Shampine after he could not be found.
Louisiana State Police said the multi-agency search for Shampine, 33, has been called off indefinitely. The Walker Police Department said it will continue to look for the suspect.
"We used FLIR (Far Looking Infrared Radar) to search for him when it got dark," said Capt. John Sharp with the Walker Police Department. "At about 10 [p.m.], the fog rolled in and we had to call off the search. We did not have any more visibility."
Sharp also said there was a reported sighting about eight miles away from the original search site. Authorities are enlisting the assistance of the US Marshal's Fugitive Task force.
"We believe someone is helping him. Moving from Walker on Tuesday to Denham Springs yesterday, it seems to us that he's got some way of moving from point A to point B that doesn't involve hitchhiking. Whoever it is, whether it be one person or more than one person, they are aiding and abetting a fugitive, and we will seek maximum penalties for those charges," Sharp added.
Sharp said it is believed that while he is a dangerous person, investigators do not think he is a risk to the public due to his desire to remain unseen and unidentified. He added Shampine does not have a history of targeting random people and it is believed there isn't a danger to the public unless someone confronts him.
Sharp stated police urge anyone from the public who comes in contact with him, get away from the area in a way that doesn't show you recognize him and contact law enforcement.
Troopers confirmed an investigator with LSP saw him walking along US 190 near the Livingston Parish-East Baton Rouge Parish line on Thursday and the suspect ran off. He is wanted by the Walker Police Department. Several agencies were involved in the search along the Amite River. LSP helicopters and police dogs assisted in the search.
"He's been on the run for a few days and we've done a lot of publicity," said Capt. Doug Cain with Louisiana State Police. "People know he's wanted. Certainly, he can get to a desperate state and we don't want that out in the public. We want to get him and we want to bring him in safe so the public can feel safe and the judicial system can go to work."
Shampine was convicted for attempted rape and aggravated burglary. He is also wanted on charges of battery, two counts of robbery and failure to register as a sex offender.
"This subject committed a heinous act of attempted rape of a lady in 2003 that resulted in her hospitalization and put her in critical condition and there's no guarantee that wouldn't happen again. There's no price tag you can put on preventing the occurrence of a crime of that nature happening again," Sharp said.
Police said he often stays in the Walker area, frequently in unoccupied trailers or houses. He is 5'8" and weighs about 185 pounds. He has light brown hair, blue eyes and a tattoo on his left shoulder.
Authorities said since being released from prison, Shampine has resisted arrest during previous encounters with law enforcement. Those encounters include:
Investigators reported he is accused of committing what they called "a strong armed robbery of a convenience store" on September 10, 2014. He is also suspected of breaking into the apartment of a woman he knows and stealing money from her later that same night. Police said she suffered minor injuries during the crime.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office is responsible for monitoring sex offenders in the parish and periodically, they check a residence or address that's been given to them. They reportedly checked his registered address and learned he had moved out a month earlier and failed to notify the sheriff.
Walker High School was placed on lockdown as a precaution Tuesday morning. Police said school officials made the decision to put the school on lockdown because of a significant law enforcement presence in the area, including the sheriff's office's helicopter.
Officials added the subject was not seen near the schools and there was never any risk to the schools, but that is not something the school board could take a chance on, so it followed its protocol.