Deltra Henderson, 39, walked away from his prison assignment at David Wade Correctional Center on Thursday afternoon, stole a car and kidnapped Amanda Carney, the Claiborne Parish Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
The 18-year-old's body was found in a wooded area near the prison where Henderson crashed the car. Sheriff Ken Bailey said during a telephone interview that investigators believe Henderson stabbed Carney to death, but they're awaiting autopsy results.
Henderson stole a second vehicle and crashed it, too, before he entered a nearby home on prison property and found a gun, authorities said. He barricaded himself inside after a gunfight with prison guards. Police found his body inside the home after the standoff ended.
Investigators suspect Henderson was fatally wounded while he traded gunfire with prison guards, before police arrived, according to the sheriff.
Carney recently graduated from a local high school and was enrolling at Southern Arkansas University in the fall to study nursing, the sheriff said.
"Everybody knows everybody (here)," the sheriff said. "It's just tragic."
The corrections department is offering grief counseling to staff members and inmates at the prison in Homer, which is in north Louisiana and can house up to 1,244 inmates.
Corrections Secretary James LeBlanc said it was a "dark day" for the state's prison system.
"Our hearts hurt today as we grieve, and mourn the loss of one of our own," LeBlanc said in a statement.
Henderson had been an inmate at the prison since June 2001. He arrived there about a month after he began serving a 30-year prison sentence for convictions on charges of cocaine distribution, attempted armed robbery and aggravated burglary.
Henderson had a potential release date of March 28, 2025, the corrections department said.
The News-Star reported that Henderson pleaded guilty to a 1999 armed robbery at a Farmerville home where a 14-year-old girl and her mother were seriously wounded by gunfire during the robbery.
In 2015, Henderson petitioned a judge for a reduced sentence, expressing remorse and highlighting his status as a first offender, the newspaper reported.
In his petition, Henderson wrote that he had completed programs in prison "to become a better person" and said he had been a "young man, running around with the wrong crowd" at the time of his offenses.
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