Kidnapping suspect ‘safe,’ heading back to Vicksburg, father says — but not in custody

Published 5:24 pm Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Following a manhunt that extended past 24 hours in the Slidell, La., area, Eric Eugene Rawlings Jr. is “safe and heading back to Vicksburg,” according to a Facebook post from his father. However, the Vicksburg Police Department hasn’t seen him.

VPD Deputy Chief Troy Kimble said Wednesday evening that Rawlings had not been taken into custody and still has an active warrant for kidnapping in his name.

“He might be heading back, but we haven’t seen him,” Kimble said.

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It is unclear how Rawlings, who fled barefoot from a Red Roof Inn in Slidell as local authorities recovered his two children and took the children’s mother, Ronneisha Evans, into custody, got out of the Slidell area. Also taken recovered was a newborn identified as “Baby Doe,” who, based on information from Vicksburg Police and Rawlings’ social media live feeds, was born in the early Monday morning while the couple was on the run.

Slidell police, Louisiana State Police, the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Customs partnered on the search for Rawlings, which began Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The authorities “exhausted all options” to locate Rawlings, using drones, K9 units and helicopters.