Covington work release facility escapee in custody

UPDATE: Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards has reported that Covington work-release program escapee Christopher Ricker is now in custody.

Details regarding Ricker's arrest will be released at a later time, Edwards said.

The sheriff thanked all law enforcement personnel and members of the community for their support during the search for Ricker.

-------------

An escapee from Northshore Workforce Solutions allegedly abducted his girlfriend from her Covington area job early Thursday morning and forced her to drive to Tangipohoa Parish, where he is being sought by law enforcement officials.

Christopher Ricker, 35, left the facility in Covington at 4 a.m., the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office said.

Ricker apparently went to a Covington convenience store immediately after leaving the work release facility and abducted his girlfriend, then fled in her vehicle.

He’s believed to be hiding in Tangipohoa Parish. Deputies, K-9 units, search-and-rescue teams and the Sheriff’s Office helicopter are searching for him.

Ricker is serving a sentence for theft and was scheduled to be released in October.

The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office got a call at 8:30 a.m. from the woman who said that Ricker had held her against her will and put her out of the vehicle, her 1999 blue Toyota Camry, on Wardline Road.

Ricker was located by Tangipohoa Sheriff’s deputies on Louisiana 442 in Loranger. He crashed into a tree near Cherokee Beach and then left the car and jumped into the river, the Tangipohoa Sheriff’s Office said.

He was then seen heading east on foot.

Law enforcement authorities ask anyone coming into contact with Ricker to call 911 immediately.