WALKER — Deputies arrested a man after he allegedly cut a fetus from his 28-year-old pregnant wife’s abdomen, Livingston Parish authorities confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
The unborn child died, but hospital personnel stabilized the woman’s condition, Sheriff Jason Ard said.
Neighbor Julie Collins, who is an emergency room nurse, said she and paramedics aided the woman at the scene, where she heard the victim’s husband say he had ingested bath salts.
Bath salts a type of synthetic drugs banned a year ago by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
The effects of bath salts on users may resemble those of LSD, cocaine and methamphetamines, according to reports.
Ard said that while using bath salts may cause erratic behavior, drug testing would have to determine what might have been in the system of suspect Jeffery Reynolds when he attacked his pregnant wife.
Collins said Reynolds is normally a nice man, but he was “howling like a wolf,” after law enforcement officers restrained him.
She said the fetus appeared to have been stabbed in the head.
Ard said the cause of death has not been determined and he could not say whether the fetus had been stabbed.
That will be determined by an autopsy, the sheriff said.
“In my 20 years (of law enforcement), I have never seen anything more gruesome,” Ard said.
He said deputies took Reynolds, 31, of 30259 Milton Road, into custody and obtained warrants alleging he committed feticide and attempted second-degree murder.
Deputies transported Reynolds to a hospital, where he was being tested for drugs, Ard said.
After the tests, Reynolds would be booked at the Livingston Parish Detention Center, Sheriff’s Office, spokeswoman Lori Steele said.
Collins said she had never seen any evidence of abusive behavior or drug use by Reynolds in the past.
She said Reynolds, an electrician, had fixed things for her family without charge and had even fed her children meals on occasion.
“They’ve been wonderful neighbors,” Collins said of the couple. “I’ve never even heard them fight.”
The victim, Paula Reynolds, “is the nicest woman you have ever met,” Collins said.
Collins said Paula Reynolds’ greatest concern as she was being given first-aid in her home Tuesday was that her 6-year-old son would not get off his school bus and see her with the stab wounds.
A relative picked up the boy at school, authorities said.
The school bus later drove past the Reynolds’ two-story home, which is surrounded by trees, without stopping.
Neighbors said Jeffery Reynolds put the boy on the school bus Tuesday morning.
Neighbor Tim Teal said the Reynoldses had been friendly, but they never “get in anybody else’s business.”
Walker police went to the scene in response to a 911 call, which initially was classified as a medical emergency, but officers found they had to subdue the suspect, Ard said,
It took several officers to restrain and “strap down” Jeffery Reynolds, Ard said.
The Sheriff’s Office took over the case from the Walker Police Department once it was determined that the Reynolds residence is outside of Walker’s city limits.
Officials with the Sheriff’s Office said they didn’t immediately know who made the 911 call.