Louisiana State Police and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Gorum man and his girlfriend in connection with a pursuit in Natchitoches and Rapides Parishes on Thursday afternoon, according to the Natchtoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

The pursuit began on Thursday afternoon Jan. 28 at approximately 4:40pm, when LSP Trooper John Axsom clocked a Ford Focus on stationary radar Speeding 101 miles per hour in a posted 75 mph speed zone traveling southbound on I-49 near milepost #116 south of Cloutierville, La.

LSP attempted to stop the vehicle, however, the violator failed to stop leading State Police on a pursuit after it exited Interstate-49 at the Chopin exit traveling west on La. Hwy 490 into the Janie community, then through the communities of Gorum and over into the Mora community in Rapides Parish.

Additional LSP and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Units responded to the area to assist in the pursuit.

State Police say the pursuit continued over into Rapides Parish on the Tom Edwards Road where the vehicle became disabled.

A male driver and female passenger holding a infant fled from the vehicle into a nearby abandoned barn.

Shortly thereafter, a female identified as 23-year-old Tessa B. Coutee of Gorum and her 2-month-old infant exited the barn walking towards law enforcement following verbal commands.

The driver of the vehicle later identified as 28-year-old Daniel A. Rister of Gorum was observed fleeing from the barn into nearby woods.

A heavy law enforcement presence in the area conducted a brief manhunt but were unsuccessful locating Rister since he was familiar with the woods and backroads.

A wrecker was contacted to impound the vehicle.

Since Rister had been identified as the operator of the vehicle, Louisiana State Police obtained criminal warrants for his arrest signed by a Tenth Judicial District Court Judge.

While interviewing Coutee, she stated that she and Rister were arguing in the vehicle just prior to the pursuit and she tried to get him to stop but he refused.”

LSP, NPSO and RPSO Deputies were all made aware of the active warrants and continued patrols in the area.

On Sunday morning January 31 at approximately 7:45am, a team of Louisiana State Police Troopers assigned to Troop-E Alexandria and NPSO Deputies armed with a criminal arrest warrant went to a residence located in the 100 block of Andy Cedars Road in Gorum, La.

Deputies knew Coutee and Rister resided at this residence due to prior calls for service at this location.

Shortly after arriving at the residence, law enforcement made contact with Coutee. She stated that Rister was not at the residence and when asked if she would give permission to search the residence she granted permission.

Deputies observed areas in the residence where an escape hatch had been cut in the floor in the bedroom under the bed.

State Police and deputies continued a thorough search of the residence discovering Rister hiding in the attic along with an AR-15 rifle.

Both Rister and Coutee were placed under arrest.

Deputies discovered the AR-15 rifle had been stolen in January 11 residential burglary on Janie-Gorum Road in Gorum.

The firearm was seized as evidence to be turned over to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division.

As a result of the investigation:

  • Daniel A. Rister, 28, of Gorum, La., transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Speeding 101/75, Aggravated Flight from a Police Officer, Aggravated Obstruction of a Highway, Driving under Suspension, Criminal Trespassing, Resisting an Officer, Criminal Damage to Property, Child Desertion and Illegal Possession of a Stolen Firearm.

*Tessa Brooke Coutee, 23, of Gorum, La., transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Accessory after the Fact for Harboring Rister and Criminal Obstruction of Justice.

Both Rister and Coutee are facing additional criminal charges in Rapides Parish.

Both remain in the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.

The child has been released to relatives, however, State DCFS are expected to be notified of this investigation.

This is an ongoing investigation into the burglary case.

Sheriff Wright, stated that we are pleased that we were able to assist Louisiana State Police with the arrest of this suspect and recover a stolen potentially dangerous weapon. We had been receiving complaints/calls for service of Rister allegedly firing an AR-15 in the Gorum area but when deputies responded to the residence he would hide or run into the woods avoiding contact with law enforcement. We hope this arrest by Louisiana State Police and Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office will ease some concern for the safety of the citizens in the Gorum area.”