24 Hours In: Vicksburg kidnapping suspect still not recovered in Slidell manhunt

Published 10:55 am Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Vicksburg man Eric Eugene Rawlings Jr. has still not been located, 24 hours into a manhunt in Slidell, La.

Rawlings is a suspect in a kidnapping case involving his own children. An Amber Alert was issued for the children on Sunday, and it was discovered Tuesday that Rawlings, his children and their mother, Vicksburg resident Ronneisha Evans, were staying at a Red Roof Inn in Slidell.

Evans and Rawlings did not have legal custody of their children at the time the alert was issued.

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The Slidell Police Department successfully apprehended Evans without incident on Tuesday and transferred the children to the custody of Child Protective Services. A baby believed to have been born to Evans and Rawlings on Monday while they were on the run, identified by Vicksburg Police as  “Baby Doe,” was also taken to a Slidell-area hospital for evaluation.

Rawlings, on the other hand, fled the scene wearing a white t-shirt, red gym shorts, white tube socks and no shoes. He was not thought to be armed.

The Slidell Police Department said in a social media statement eight hours into the search for Rawlings that it had exhausted every resource and enlisted the help of Louisiana State Police, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s office and U.S. Customs to safely recover Rawlings.

“After exhausting every available resource (manpower, K9, drone, helicopter), and searching for over eight hours, we still have not located the suspect,” the Slidell, La., Police Department said at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. “At this time, we will have officers extra patrolling throughout the remainder of the evening.”

The Vicksburg Police Department confirmed at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday that Rawlings had not been found.

VPD Deputy Chief Troy Kimble also confirmed that Rawlings has a warrant out for kidnapping. He will not be formally charged until he is apprehended by authorities.

“There is a warrant for his arrest. Once he is in custody, then we will institute the charge. Then, he will be indicted on that charge, go to trial and possibly be convicted on that charge,” Kimble said, adding that Evans also has a kidnapping warrant and faces the same charge.

Once Evans is medically cleared and released from the hospital, where she is currently housed for postpartum treatment along with her newborn, she will be taken to Vicksburg and formally charged.