Accused kidnapper and Natchitoches police officer Robert Barthelemy is no longer cooperating with the investigation into the disappearance of Tony Procell.
At a briefing Thursday afternoon, Joe Dewil with the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office also revealed that Barthelemy is now also charged with home invasion, and that authorities are asking for the public to let them know if they saw Barthelemy's car or anything out of place on Tuesday.
Anyone who may have seen Barthelemy's white 2004 GMC Envoy between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at any location or anything that looked out of place is asked to contact the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office at (318) 256-9241.
Procell has been missing now for more than 48 hours since police say he was forced from his home by Barthelemy at gunpoint on Tuesday morning.
Dewil says the expanded search of "general areas" in DeSoto, Sabine and Natchitoches parishes on Thursday have so far turned up no sign of Procell. He says they have been able to "cross out" some areas that were searched based on information received through tips.
Those general areas include a lot of woods and water, "all kinds of hazards," according to Dewil. "It's a proverbial needle in a haystack, if you're looking for someone. And again, until we have evidence to the contrary, we're still in search and rescue mode, because, well, we don't know what kind of condition Mr. Procell was left in."
Crews spent all day Wednesday searching in part of the Kisatchie National Forest in Natchitoches Parish, where Barthelemy reportedly told police he Procell on Tuesday morning. According to Dewil, "There was no evidence we could find that Mr. Procell or Mr. Barthelemy had even been there."
The active search for Procell was suspended by nightfall Wednesday. Specific locations of the expanded search Thursday have not been revealed, Dewil says, out of concern for the safety of those that might try to join in the search without authorization. He says they are asking the public to refrain from searching on their own. "This is still an active investigation and if there is any evidence out there, we would like to preserve it and not have it compromised."
On Thursday morning, Dewil said there was no reason to believe at this point that they are working on a recovery mission. "It is a search and rescue until we have evidence to lead us to believe otherwise. Obviously, we're over 24 hours that he hasn't contacted anybody, going on 48 hours, so time is critical."
Several law enforcement agencies are involved in the search, with Vernon Parish and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries joining the effort on Thursday.
Barthelemy remains in custody at the Sabine Parish Detention Center, charged with aggravated kidnapping. He was arrested early Wednesday morning after a high-speed chase and standoff with police on Hwy 177 in DeSoto Parish.
Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronny Richardson confirmed on Wednesday that the search was prompted by security camera footage taken from the home where Procell was living with a roommate. Richardson says that video clearly shows Barthelemy forcing Procell from the home at gunpoint.
Investigators are saying little about how the two know each other and what the motive behind the alleged kidnapping might have been. KSLA News 12 has confirmed that Procell and Barthelemy served in the same unit in the Louisiana National Guard together. Information from multiple sources indicate there have been domestic issues leading up to Tuesday's alleged kidnapping.
Sunday, August 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-08-31 19:28:29 GMT
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