Suspect in Ponchatoula murder discovered in victim's home
A murder suspect on the run, actually hiding out at the scene of the crime -- that's where Tangipahoa Parish deputies found Ryan Pourciau, accused of killing a Ponchatoula woman.
For over 24 hours, Tangipahoa Parish deputies searched for 18-year-old Pourciau. Residents in Ponchatoula were on high alert as authorities combed the Brookfield subdivision and surrounding streets.
The family of 39-year-old April Vanderlinden, who was shot to death Tuesday morning, were kept in a hotel for their safety. But Wednesday afternoon, they decided they wanted to return home.
Tangipahoa Sheriff Daniel Edwards explains, "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 belonging of Ryan Pourciau."
The family found a bulletproof vest. Sheriff Edwards says they ran outside and told the deputies who were still standing in their driveway. "We go in and do another sweep of the house, and it's during that time that we encounter Ryan Pourciau, who was under a bed. We asked him to show his hands, he put up a gun and he was shot. Several shots were fired, one of which struck him in the shoulder," Edwards said.
Pourciau was taken to North Oaks Hospital with a non-life threatening injury. Edwards says the Vanderlinden family was pretty upset that the man accused of killing their loved one was back in their house.
Sheriff's deputies actually searched the victim's home several times after Tuesday's murder. They also searched the woods behind the home, so they're not sure when Pourciau entered the home, or how.
The sheriff says he's surprised that a murder suspect would go back to the scene of the crime, commenting, "If I'm going to try to hide, I'm going to try to hide a whole bunch of different places. I'm not going to go back to the victim's house and hide there. And the fact that he was under the bed, when he was encountered, leads me to believe that he was lying in wait."
The sheriff says he's thankful none of the family members were injured while they were inside the home with Pourciau. And while investigators still try to determine a motive, Edwards did tell us that Pourciau once considered himself to be the boyfriend of April Vanderlinden's daughter. Last February, a restraining order was issued, prohibiting Pourciau from going to the Vanderlinden house.
"It's been an ongoing thing," said neighbor James Fletcher. "People knew about it. But you never think it's going to come down to something like this," Fletcher said.
Pourciau is now being charged with first-degree murder and aggravated burglary.