Lafayette Parish launches nationwide search for fugitive

Wade Lohse
Wade Lohse

The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office has asked the U.S. Marshal’s Service for help in a nationwide search for a Youngsville man who walked out of the 15th District Courthouse before his illegal weapons possession trial started March 25, a sheriff’s official said.

Capt. Kip Judice, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, said local authorities also are pursuing a spot on the television show “America’s Most Wanted” in the search for Wade Lohse, 43.

“We’ve put out an all points bulletin for Mr. Lohse in our attempt to help us identify what state he may be in,” Judice said. “This is a bad guy.”

Lohse has not been seen by his attorney, police or prosecutors since he announced at around 10:45 a.m. March 25 that he had to deposit coins in one of the parking meters that ring the courthouse, Judice and Lohse’s attorney, Thomas Alonzo, said.

After about 30 minutes, Judice said, court officials realized Lohse was not there. After an unsuccessful search outside the courtroom, a warrant was issued for Lohse, Judice said.

“We’re going to make sure he gets a fair trial … at some point in the future,” Alonzo said.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with U.S. marshals to get Lohse placed on the nation’s 15 most wanted fugitives list and also is trying to get Lafayette’s search broadcast on “America’s Most Wanted,” Judice said.

Getting on “America’s Most Wanted,” which highlights fugitive searches, “requires sending an application to (Washington), D.C., with all the particulars,” Judice said, adding that he didn’t know when or if Lohse’s case would appear on the show.

Judice said that on the morning Lohse’s weapons trial was to begin, Lohse’s attorney and prosecutors were trying to devise a plea agreement instead of going forward with the trial.

Judice said the plea talks involved lumping together three charges that were pending against Lohse: the weapons charge that was scheduled for trial March 25, a burglary charge and a vehicular homicide charge.

The vehicular homicide charge followed a June 10 crash in which Lohse was allegedly drunk and driving his Jeep Cherokee south on the Youngsville Highway at about 11:30 p.m., court documents say. Lohse’s Jeep crossed the centerline and struck a vehicle driven by Cacie Barras McGrew, according to the records.

The 29-year-old woman was killed, records say.

Lohse was out of jail on $15,000 bond on the vehicular homicide at the time he disappeared, according to the documents.

“I haven’t seen him since he walked out of court that morning,” said Alonzo, Lohse’s Lafayette attorney.

Lohse has been charged with one felony each year since 2009, according to the records. All four charges against him are pending: a marijuana possession charge in September 2009 in which Lohse agreed to plead guilty and spend two months in jail, but court records do not indicate if he ever served the time; the felon in possession of a weapon charge in April 2010; a simple burglary charge in March 2011; and the vehicular homicide charge in June 2012.