Suspect in Ponchatoula death caught, wounded

Published: Apr. 24, 2013 at 1:16 PM CDT|Updated: May. 1, 2013 at 7:43 PM CDT
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EMT's transport Ryan Pourciau to hospital after his shooting by deputies Wednesday
EMT's transport Ryan Pourciau to hospital after his shooting by deputies Wednesday
Ryan Pourciau
Ryan Pourciau
Courtesy of
Courtesy of

PONCHATOULA, La. (AP) - An 18-year-old suspect who had been at large for more than a day after the shooting death of a woman near Ponchatoula was shot and wounded Wednesday after he was discovered hiding in the victim's house.

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said during a televised news conference that Ryan Pourciau was armed and appeared to be lying in wait for other family members of the victim.

"If I'm going to try to hide I'm going to try to hide a whole bunch of other places before I go back to the victim's house," Edwards said when asked why he thought Pourciau was lying in wait.

Pourciau was hospitalized with what Edwards said was a non-life-threatening wound to the shoulder.

Edwards said investigators do not believe Pourciau was in the house the entire time he was at large. He said investigators are trying to determine how he got in.

Pourciau faces a first-degree murder charge in the Tuesday morning shooting of 39-year-old April Vanderlinden, the mother of a girl Pourciau knew.

Vanderlinden was killed outside her home.

Family members, who spent Tuesday night away from the home, returned Wednesday to retrieve clothes.

"They go into the house. One of the victim's family members sees something in a room that's out of place. She recognized it to be a belonging of Ryan Pourciau," Edwards said.

The family member and her father quickly left and told deputies, who were outside, what they found. Deputies found Pourciau under a bed. "We asked him to show his hands. He put up a gun," Edwards said.

Deputies fired several shots. Pourciau was wounded at least once in the chest. He did not fire any shots, Edwards said.

Tuesday's shooting, and the manhunt for Pourciau, led to a lockdown of nearby Ponchatoula on Tuesday, and a continued police presence Wednesday at the school.

Authorities said earlier this week that Pourciau was the subject of a restraining order involving a Vanderlinden family member.

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