BUSINESS

St. Gabriel prison escapee search focused on N.O

Staff report
Rewards totaling $5,000 are offered for information leading to the capture of fugitive inmate Keana Barnes, who escaped from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel early on New Year's Day. 
PHOTO PROVIED BY LOUISIANA CORRECTIONS DEPARTMENT

ST. GABRIEL - An inmate who escaped from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women on New Year's Day may be hiding out in the New Orleans area, according to state corrections officials.

Investigators believe Keana Barnes, 33, was given a ride to downtown New Orleans after she fled around 1 a.m. Jan. 1 from the prison at St. Gabriel on Iberville Parish's east bank, state Department of Public Safety and Corrections spokeswoman Pam Laborde said in a news release.

Laborde said the Corrections Department has received reports of multiple sightings of Barnes in the New Orleans area, primarily in the vicinity of Marrero. It should be noted that anyone aiding her will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Barnes apparently has been receiving help to avoid capture. She is a native of the New Orleans area and has relatives and friends there, the release says.

Rewards totaling $5,000 are offered for information leading to the capture of the fugitive. The Corrections Department and CrimeStoppers of Greater New Orleans both have posted $2,500 rewards, the release says.

Barnes, age 33, is 5'4" tall, weighs 140 pounds, and has dark brown eyes and very short brown hair. She has the letter "K" tattooed on her left hand, a dragon tattoo on her back and two panther tattoos on her chest.

It is also believed that she has a fairly deep cut on one her fingers that she sustained during the escape. Barnes was serving a 25-year sentence for manslaughter.

Anyone with information about Barnes' whereabouts is asked to call the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women's Control Center at (225) 319-2300. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans at (504) 822-1111 or (877) 903-7867.