The mother and girlfriend of a Natchitoches Parish Work Release Inmate that fled from a south Natchitoches Parish work site on on Feb. 9 were arrested in connection with their involvement in his escape according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr.
Natchitoches Parish Detention Center Chief of Corrections Roger Henson said 33-year-old Jale Christopher Hopwood was assigned to the NPDC Work Release Detail. He arrived at his assigned work assignment detail in south Natchitoches at 7pm. His supervisors discovered him missing at 9 pm.
Sheriff Victor Jones, NPSO Patrol deputies and Corrections Divisions responded to the area. Deputies combed the area but were unable to locate Hopwood. An all points bulletin message was issued to regional law enforcement agencies to BOLO for Hopwood.
The US Marshal’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit was notified and began assisting deputies. During the course of the overnight investigation, deputies and corrections division investigators developed reliable information learning that Hopwood’s girlfriend identified Stephanie Fruge Howe, of Shreveport traveled to an undisclosed location near Chopin and picked Hopwood up after he jumped a rear fence at the job site.
Deputies work security at the work site, however, this area is restricted to only company personnel and not law enforcement. Howe and Hopwood then traveled back to Shreveport where he remained on the run. The NPSO issued a press release featuring Hopwood on its website and social media page. Media sources also assisted featuring on several news stations.
A concerned citizen contacted Opelousas Police Department on Feb. 11 after they recognized Hopwood during a newscast. The citizen reported seeing him and a female at an Opelousas hotel. At 7:45am, Opelousas Police took Hopwood into custody along with a female (his mother) identified as Raylene June Hopwood, 57 of Shreveport, without incident.
Natchitoches Parish Detention Center Captain G. Sers and Investigator Y. Spillman traveled to Opelousas and transported both suspects to the Natchitoches Detention Center.
As a result of the investigation, corrections division investigators arrested the following:
*Jale Christopher Hopwood, 33, booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Simple Escape.
*Stephanie Fruge Howe, 34, (Girlfriend) of 5000 block of Belle Chase Drive, Bossier City, La. booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Assisting with an Escape.
*Raylene June Hopwood, 57, (Mother) of the 3100 block of Bert Kouns Drive, Shreveport, La. booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Assisting with an Escape.
All three remain in the Natchitoches Detention Center awaiting bond.
According to Chief Henson, potential work release inmates go through background reviews by the Department of Corrections and the NPSO Work Release Program before they are approved. Inmates then are interviewed and tested by the employing company before they are hired. This program has been successful with other inmates in the past with re-entry as it allows them to have some money and teaches them how to keep a job when released. It’s unfortunate that we placed trust in Hopwood to participate in this program when he only had 8-months left to serve on his sentence.”
Chief Henson expresses his thanks to Opelousas Police Department, the citizens who called in tips to law enforcement, the US Marshal’s Service, media and all of the deputies that took part in this investigation.