NEWS

On the run: Reward money increased for escaped prisoner

Staff report
A bridge over a waterway sits on the grounds of the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel recently. A reward is being offered for information leading to the capture of an escapee. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

ST. GABRIEL - Authorities have increased the reward for information leading to the capture of a state prisoner who escaped Jan. 1 from the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women in St. Gabriel.

The state Department of Public Safety and Corrections is now offering $2,500 - up from $1,000 - for tips leading to the arrest of Keana Barnes, 33, who was serving a 25-year sentence for manslaughter. Crimestoppers of Greater New Orleans is also offering a $2,500 reward.

Barnes is 5-4, weighs 140 pounds and has dark brown eyes and "very short" brown hair, corrections officials said.

"She has the letter "K" tattooed on her left hand, a dragon tattoo on her back and two panther tattoos on her chest," the news release says.

Barnes is from the New Orleans area and has family there, authorities said.

"It is likely that she is getting assistance in evading capture," the release says.

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.

Barnes, 33, escaped around 1 a.m. Jan. 1. The escape is the first at the Institute since 1985.

K-9 search teams from nearby Elayn Hunt Correctional Center helped searched for Barnes, who is considered armed and dangerous.

Barnes was the second inmate at a St. Gabriel prison to escape in a five-day span.

On Dec. 28, Joshua Kelly, 38, escaped from Elayn Hunt Correctional Center around midnight. He is serving a 65-year prison term for several Orleans Parish armed robbery convictions.

Authorities arrested Kelly without incident more than two hours after his escape at the intersection La. 73 and La. 75 in Ascension Parish.