The US Marshals Service told Fox 8 that a juvenile offender from New Orleans who escaped from a non-secure facility in Lake Charles last month was caught Monday (Oct. 2) in Texas after a nearly three-week search.
Lynell Reynolds, now 18, was caught in the San Antonio area. When he was 13, he was found guilty of trying to kill someone in the second degree. Reynolds was found guilty of shooting Darrelle Scott during a robbery in New Orleans East in 2019, which left Scott paralyzed and unable to move without a wheelchair.
Scott’s grandmother, Dorothy White, said, “Just knowing that he was caught made me happy, relieved, and cry.” “I called my grandson Darrelle right away to tell him that Lynell had been caught. I mean, he was very relieved.”
Jason Williams, the district attorney for Orleans Parish, was happy that Reynolds had been caught. He also said that a “second person” had been arrested in New Orleans in connection with Reynolds’s escape from the state. No plans have been made to catch that person.
“Everyone in our family is very happy about it,” White said. At first, Orleans Parish Juvenile Court Judge Candice Anderson put Reynolds in a state facility for young people until he turned 21. But in February 2022, Anderson gave Reynolds permission to move into a group home.
Williams said last week that Scott’s family and the prosecutors in his office were against the move. “Nothing in his record of behavior suggested there was a reason to change from serving his full sentence as he was supposed to,” Williams said. “He hasn’t changed for the better.”
Scott found out last month that Reynolds had gotten away from that place on September 13, but he didn’t find out for nine days. Reynolds’s escape from Fox 8 was never answered by Louisiana’s Office of Juvenile Justice. For almost two weeks, there was no news about the search for the young gunman. Finally, a short statement was sent to Fox 8’s sister station in Lake Charles.
“The Office of Juvenile Justice would like to assure the public that all legal steps were taken by the agency to notify the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, the youth’s attorney, and the youth’s caretaker of the escape from the non-secure placement,” the statement said in part.
But Williams said that the OJJ broke at least the spirit of the law about kids who run away. “OJJ is the biggest and scariest problem in this situation,” he said. Williams said in a statement on Monday night that his office is working on a law that would require alerts to be sent out all over the state if an inmate escaped, no matter where they were being held. These alerts are especially important where the crime happened and where the victims live.”
Reynolds is being held in Bexar County, Texas, until he can be sent to another country. “In a lot of ways, they care more about the criminals than they do about the victims,” said Patrick Dennis, who was a victim of a different crime involving young people.
Dennis said that in December 2021, he was held up outside of his home on St. Charles Avenue. The gunman, who was only a teen at the time, was let go by Judge Anderson. Dennis said he didn’t know about the trial and didn’t show up to testify against him.
“I don’t like the way things work. Dennis said, “There’s no way to talk to anyone, and I don’t think the judges are being held accountable at all.” “The judges are hiding behind the juvenile justice center and the fact that the kids are too young to give out information. That is where they are hiding. And because of this, no one is responsible in the criminal justice system.”
Fox 8 has asked Anderson for an interview, but he hasn’t replied yet. Fox 8 also tried to ask Gov. John Bel Edwards’ office about OJJ’s lack of transparency and communication with the media and public, but they did not answer.
Dennis and White both agreed that Reynolds should not have been let into a “step down” facility, which is a group home with no security. “The people who did it and their parents need to be held responsible, and our system isn’t doing that right now,” Dennis said. “These are very bad crimes, and no one is being held responsible for them.”