KSLA Investigates: The Day Amanda Carney Died

The Day Amanda Carney Died
Deltra Henderson, 39 (Source: Union Parish Sheriff's Office)
Deltra Henderson, 39 (Source: Union Parish Sheriff's Office)
Escaped trustee Deltra Henderson was fatally wounded in an exchange of gunfire with law officers after barricading himself in this home on the grounds of the David Wade Correctional Center. (Source: Claiborne Parish Sheriff's Office)
Escaped trustee Deltra Henderson was fatally wounded in an exchange of gunfire with law officers after barricading himself in this home on the grounds of the David Wade Correctional Center. (Source: Claiborne Parish Sheriff's Office)
(Source: KSLA News 12)
(Source: KSLA News 12)

CLAIBORNE PARISH, LA (KSLA) - It was a life full of promise, but just a little over a year ago, Amanda Carney's life was taken during a violent prison escape at the David Wade Correctional Center in Claiborne Parish.

Twelve months later, prison officials and law enforcement are saying little about the brutal events that that took Amanda's life. She was taken hostage and later killed by 39-year-old inmate Deltra Henderson, later died during an exchange of gunfire with law enforcement.

Folks in her hometown of Homer, Louisiana, just ten miles away from the prison, say there's still a lot of questions about what happened the day Amanda died.

"Everybody says you don't think things like that will happen here." said Penny Andrews, one of Amanda's former teachers. "It was horrific."

After filing an open records request with the Claiborne Sheriff's Office and examining court papers in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Amanda's father against the State of Louisiana, KSLA Investigates discovered further details in the case and shared that information with Michael Tabman, a retired F.B.I. Special Agent in Charge.

"We have to investigate these matters as if the person lived and is going to go to trial," Tabman said.

He agreed to review the David Wade incident from the perspective of a professional criminal investigator and his initial concern was Henderson's independence as a trustee.

In 2001 Henderson was incarcerated for cocaine distribution and shooting two people, one in the face, another in the back, during an attempted armed robbery and aggravated burglary.

Sixteen years later court records in the wrongful death lawsuit claims Henderson was allowed to work unsupervised at a housing complex on prison grounds, where Amanda lived with her mom, a David Wade employee and her mom's boyfriend an assistant prison warden.

"One would have to wonder why this particular inmate was given that assignment where he had a lot of freedom, probably little supervision if any and the tools that could be used as weapons," Tabman said.

According to new information filed in the wrongful death suit, Henderson's work assignment gave him access to sharp dangerous tools, ones that Henderson allegedly used to forcibly kidnap and kill Amanda.

Both the lawsuit and a report from the sheriff's office indicating Amanda was brutally choked and stabbed in the neck.

"The prison system is going to have to go back look at this and say okay, what did we do wrong," Tabman said. "Because clearly there are some errors here, that this prisoner was able to escape, commit a murder and have access to tools that were used as weapons, a lot of errors along the way here."

The Sheriff's initial investigation gives a more detailed timeline of the day Amanda died, showing the manhunt for Henderson began at 1:46 p.m. when he's seen driving a guard's truck away from the prison.

Five minutes later that vehicle is found crashed at this intersection just a couple miles away.

Armed with two kitchen knives, the Sheriff's report states Henderson fled the scene on foot, making his way back to the prison complex.

At some undisclosed time, Henderson steals Amanda's silver Honda and at 2:40 p.m. that car is found dumped in a nearby wooded area.

She is reported missing at 3:13 p.m. An hour and ten minutes later, at 4:23 p.m. Henderson is discovered holed up in a trailer home near the prison's firing range. Where he reportedly shoots at then takes fire from a team of prison guards.

Just before 9 p.m., the standoff ends when Amanda's body is discovered. At that same time, a swat team storms the trailer finding Henderson dead inside.

After reading the sheriff's initial narrative, Tabman believes a deeper criminal investigation is necessary to dig into this new detail — according to the sheriff's report, a second trustee discovered a bloody towel and shoelace in Amanda's driveway the day she was murdered but failed to report what he found to prison authorities.

In a letter, Claiborne Parish Sheriff Ken Bailey writes that "criminal litigation is reasonably anticipated." But the sheriff refuses to say anything more while the case "is still under investigation."

Tabman says investigators should also be trying to answer how Henderson got the keys to a prison guard's personal vehicle.

"We have to know everything that happened. because as we said, if we find it was an inside job, that someone on the inside helped him, or someone on the outside helped him, so that he knew where to find things, how to get to certain places, he knew what would be available, there's going to be a criminal prosecution."

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