LPSO to Begin Sending Text Message Reminders for Court Dates

Court Date Reminder Text Messages Feat

Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office will begin rolling out a new notification system for upcoming court dates. The message will also give the recipient the option to pay the fine associated with their citation or summons in lieu of attending court. This system is aimed at curbing the large number of contempt of court warrants issued for people who failed to pay or attend court.

“In recent years, we’ve noticed a large number of people being arrested for contempt of court after failing to pay a fine or show up for court,” said Sheriff Webre. “Through our own research, we found many of those people had simply forgotten about their court date. This new notification system will remind those individuals of their upcoming court date and prompt them to contact us if they have any questions.”

When an individual receives a traffic citation, for example, the citation is essentially a summons to appear in court on a date specified on the citation. In lieu of appearing in court, the citation recipient may exercise the option to pay the fines and costs associated with the citation. If the citation recipient does not pay and then fails to show up for court, a contempt of court warrant is issued for that person’s arrest. Then, during the next encounter with law enforcement, such as a traffic stop, the person is found to have an active warrant and would be subject to arrest.

With the notification system, those who have not paid their fine within ten days of their court date will be sent a text message reminding them of the court date with the amount owed and offering them the option to pay the fines and costs in lieu of going to court. If the recipient opts to pay, they will be sent instructions on how to pay by phone, in-person, or online at www.LPSO.net.

“Our goal for this proactive notification system is to curb or eliminate arrest warrants for people who forget their court date,” said Sheriff Webre. “Additionally, we implore those who cannot pay their fines to contact us prior to their court date instead of simply not showing up for court.”

The Sheriff’s Office will use their own records of individual cell phone numbers to issue the text messages. Deputies ask individuals for their cell phone numbers during encounters in order to have the most recent contact information for the individual. Those with phones capable of receiving MMS messages will receive the notification. The first incoming message will be free, and all subsequent messages would be subject to charges by individual carriers if applicable.

The Sheriff’s Office will begin rolling out this notification system this month and will test it over the next several months before rolling it out to all individuals for which cell phone numbers are available. This means that only a small group will receive the message during the testing phase, and even after full implementation, the messages will only be sent for those with up-to-date cell phone numbers. Above all, this message system is a courtesy. Failure to receive a text notification does not absolve anyone from their responsibility of paying fines and costs or attending court.

Lafayette Man Arrested for Sex Crimes Involving a Juvenile

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a Lafayette man has been arrested for sex crimes involving a juvenile which occurred nearly two years ago. Eli Charpentier, 35, of Lafayette faces charges including aggravated crime against nature, indecent behavior with a juvenile and possession of child porn.

In June 2019, juvenile detectives opened an investigation into Charpentier after receiving an anonymous tip that he was in possession of child pornography. Through investigation, detectives recovered illicit photos which Charpentier had taken picturing him with a juvenile relative. Further investigation revealed Charpentier had inappropriately touched the juvenile on several occasions. Detectives learned the incidents had occurred around July 2017 in Golden Meadow. Following an investigation, warrants were obtained for Charpentier’s arrest.

On Monday, July 15, Charpentier turned himself over to authorities. He was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex in Thibodaux on charges of Aggravated Crime Against Nature, Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile, and Pornography Involving Juveniles. He was released Monday night after posting bail in the amount of $15,000.

Due to the nature of the allegations, no further details can be released.

Eli Charpentier
Eli Charpentier

Man Facing Charges Including Rape after Holding a Woman and Her Daughter against Their Will

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced a Cut Off man is facing charges including First Degree Rape after holding a woman and her daughter against their will over the weekend.  Morgan Ratley, 52, of Cut Off is also charged with sexual battery, domestic abuse, and false imprisonment in the incident.

At around 10 a.m. on Sunday, July 14, a woman arrived at the South Lafourche Sub-Station in reference to a disturbance at a Cut Off residence. The woman indicated she and her teenage daughter were held against her will by Morgan Ratley since approximately 5 p.m. on July 12, 2019, and that a rape occurred during that time.

Through investigation, detectives learned the woman and her daughter were at the residence with Ratley when he approached the woman with duct tape and attempted to restrain her. The daughter attempted to contact the Sheriff’s Office, but Ratley took the phone away. He then used the tape to restrain the woman to a chair. He occasionally released the woman from her restraints, but would not allow her to leave. Finally, on Sunday morning, the woman and her daughter were able to escape the residence and proceeded to the Sheriff’s Office. Following an investigation, detectives obtained warrants for First Degree Rape, Sexual Battery, Domestic Abuse Battery, and False Imprisonment.

Deputies made contact with Ratley and he was arrested. He was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex on the aforementioned charges. Bail is set at $135,000.

The identities of the victims and further details are being withheld to protect the victims.

Morgan Ratley
Morgan Ratley

Two Injured in Overnight Shooting in Raceland

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced two men were injured in a shooting that occurred overnight in Raceland. Both victims are in stable condition, and detectives have no suspects at this time.

At around 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 16, deputies responded to a call of a shooting in the 300 block of Triple Oaks Drive in Raceland. Deputies made contact with one of the victims at the scene and found he had been shot in his right hip. While attending to that victim, another man approached the deputies, and he was found to have graze wounds to the left arm and right thigh. Both subjects were taken to a hospital and treated for their injuries. Both are expected to survive.

The investigation into this shooting is continuing. Anyone with any information on this case is asked to submit a tip anonymously through Crime Stoppers Bayou Region by phone at 1-800-743-7433 or online at www.crimestoppersbr.org. Tips can also be submitted using the P3 Tips app on your mobile device. Tipsters could be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 in cash if the information leads to an arrest.

Two Drivers Charged with DWI During Parish-Wide Curfew for Hurricane Barry

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced two DWI arrests were made during a parish-wide curfew for Hurricane Barry. Both drivers had a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit.

Shortly after 10 p.m. on Friday, July 12, deputies responded to a Raceland residence in reference to a domestic disturbance. Upon arrival, deputies learned Coby Schexnider, 34, of Raceland, had struck his girlfriend several times and then left the residence. Deputies began searching the area and located Schexnider traveling on LA Highway 1 a short distance from the residence. He was found to be speeding, and deputies conducted a traffic stop. Schexnider refused to submit to a field sobriety test, but a breathalyzer test showed him to have a blood alcohol level of .172%. He was arrested and booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex. He was charged with DWI, Domestic Abuse Battery, and Speeding. He was released after posting $3,100 bail.

Then at around 10:20 p.m. on Saturday, July 13, deputies and a Golden Meadow Police officer conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Roland Lafont Jr., 49, of Golden Meadow. Lafont was found to have an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath. He refused to submit to a field sobriety test, but a breathalyzer test showed him to have a blood alcohol level of .182%. Upon reviewing his criminal history, deputies found Lafont had prior DWI arrests in 2016 and 2018. He was arrested and booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex. He was charged with DWI (3rd Offense). Bail is set at $15,000.

Sheriff Webre thanked the residents for their cooperation during the threat of Hurricane Barry.

“Outside of these isolated incidents, our residents were cooperative and heeded the curfew,” said Sheriff Webre. “I am very appreciative because it freed up our deputies to locate downed tree limbs and power poles and assist in removing those from the highways. I applaud our residents for their attentiveness to emergency information and for helping us to ensure the safety of the parish during this storm.”

Coby Schexnider Coby Schexnider
Roland Lafont Jr Roland Lafont Jr

UPDATE: LA 1 now OPEN south of Golden Meadow

LA Highway 1 is now OPEN from Golden Meadow to Leeville and Port Fourchon. Per Lafourche Parish Government, the mandatory evacuation for south of the Leon Theriot Locks in Golden Meadow has also been lifted. ‪Residents in that area should use caution when returning to their property as water is still high off the roadways. Some properties may still be inaccessible.
LA 1 continuing to Grand Isle is now accessible for property owners and emergency services, but access is limited in that direction. Please use caution when traveling recently cleared roadways.

For continuing updates, go to LPSO.net/STORM.

LPSO Administrative Offices to Close for Tropical Storm Barry

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre has announced that the administrative offices of the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office shall close at 2:00 PM today (July 12, 2019) in advance of the arrival of Tropical Storm Barry. Offices are set to open on Monday, July 15, 2019, at 8:00 A.M. barring any additional complications that may arise relative to the storm.

Residents can rest assured that all necessary functions required to serve and protect our communities are in place as we are proactively doubling our patrol section and utilizing all available equipment in advance of Tropical Storm Barry’s arrival. In the event of an emergency, please call 911. For non-emergencies, call (985) 532-2808.

Sheriff Webre encourages all residents to take necessary precautions in advance of the storm. We are actively working with other parish emergency officials to ensure that all aspects of storm preparation and recovery are utilized.

Keep up to date with all emergency information relative to Lafourche Parish on our website: LPSO.net/STORM.

Sheriff Webre Announces Preparations for Tropical Storm Barry

Sheriff Craig Webre reported the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office is working with all other parish agencies to closely monitor Tropical Storm Barry as it approaches the coast. The National Weather Service indicated this system could produce 10-20 inches of rain in Lafourche Parish over the next few days. All important information relevant to Lafourche Parish is available on our website at www.LPSO.net/STORM.

A recommended evacuation has been issued for all areas south of the Leon Theriot Lock in Golden Meadow including Port Fourchon. Barring significant changes, parish officials plan to issue a mandatory evacuation for that area at 6 a.m. on Friday, July 12. If that occurs, a shelter of last resort will be opened at the Raceland Recreation Center located at 241 Recreation Drive in Raceland. As of noon on Thursday, a mandatory evacuation had already been issued for Grand Isle (Jefferson Parish).

All residents and business owners are encouraged to make preparations today. While there is no planned closure of LA Highway 1 in this area, officials do expect the road to become impassable at some point.

“Now is the time to complete your storm preparations,” said Sheriff Webre. “We encourage all residents to pick up their emergency supplies and secure their property today. There is still uncertainty about the exact timing of inclement weather on Friday. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Patrol Section will be supplemented with additional deputies beginning Friday morning to attend to calls for service. Sheriff Webre has also assigned trustees to assist in filling sandbags. A full list of sandbag locations is available on our website. Per Lafourche Parish Government, residents seeking sandbags should bring a shovel and plan to fill them on their own in case none are readily available upon arrival.

The offices of the Lafourche Parish District Attorney and Clerk of Court will be closed on Friday, July 12, but the 17th Judicial District Court Divisions A and E will be open (Divisions B, C, and D will be closed). Anyone scheduled for court in Division A or E should attend. The Lafourche Parish Assessor’s Office has not yet made a determination about their office hours for Friday. Garbage pickup in the unincorporated areas of Lafourche Parish has been canceled for Friday and Saturday. Please secure all trash bins.

The Lafourche Parish Animal Shelter is currently at full capacity. Therefore, deputies will be unable to pick up stray animals except in the event of a bite, injured animal, or other extreme circumstances.

Contact the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office with any weather-related issues at (985) 532-2808, or simply dial 9-1-1 in an emergency. “Our staff is dedicated to ensuring public safety,” said Sheriff Webre. “We will continue working with parish emergency officials to monitor this storm and take the necessary actions to keep the citizens of Lafourche protected.”

Please visit www.LPSO.net/STORM for all important information relevant to Lafourche Parish and check back often for updates. Information on our website is updated frequently and collected from all parish agencies to keep you posted with the most critical and up-to-date information. You can also monitor social media for updates by following @LafourcheSO on Facebook and Twitter.

UPDATE: Crime Stoppers Tip Leads to Arrest of Murder Suspect in May 2019 Shooting

Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre announced an anonymous tip led to the arrest of a suspect wanted for the murder of a Montegut man in May 2019. Devante Matthews, 21, of Montegut was arrested at his mother’s residence by the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday. Matthews is charged with Second Degree murder along with Terance Dupre, 22, of Montegut in the shooting death of 53-year-old Kirby Courteaux. Matthews’ mother, Rhonda Dardar, 40, of Gray is now also charged as an accessory after the fact in addition to a 16-year-old who was previously charged as an accessory.

An anonymous tip was submitted to Crime Stoppers Bayou Region indicating Matthews was at his mother’s residence in Gray. On Tuesday afternoon, Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies located Matthews at the residence, and he was taken into custody. Matthews’ mother, Dardar, was present and was also arrested and charged as an accessory after the fact.

Matthews and Dardar were booked into the Terrebonne Parish Criminal Justice Complex. Dardar was booked on the aforementioned accessory charge as well as a contempt warrant. Her bail is set at $251,500. Matthews was booked on warrants for Simple Robbery and Contempt of Court in Terrebonne Parish. He will later be transferred to the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex where he will be held in lieu of $1 million bail.

As previously released, on May 14, 2019, the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office began an investigation when a family member reported he had been missing since May 11. On May 15, TPSO deputies took Terance Dupre into custody after he was found driving the victim’s vehicle. This led investigators to learn of a shooting incident that occurred in Pointe-Aux-Chenes (Lafourche Parish) and eventually led to the discovery of Courteaux’s body in Morgan City.

Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office detectives learned Dupre, Devante Matthews, and Courteaux were at a boat launch in Point-aux-Chenes on the night of May 11, 2019, when Courteaux was reportedly shot multiple times. Matthews and Dupre took Courteaux’s body and his truck. They picked up a 16-year-old male and transported Courteaux’s body to Morgan City where they left him near a wooded area.

Dupre was booked into the Lafourche Parish Correctional Complex on the charge of Second Degree Murder, and his bail is set at $1 million. The 16-year-old was charged with Accessory After the Fact to Second Degree Murder, and he was placed into the Lafourche Parish Juvenile Justice Facility in Thibodaux.

Davonte Mathews
Davonte Mathews
Rhonda Dardar
Rhonda Dardar
Terance Dupre
Terance Dupre (previously arrested)

LPSO to Conduct Online Tax Title Sale on July 24, 2019

Sheriff Craig Webre announced the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office will host a tax title sale on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. The tax sale will begin at 8 A.M. and conclude at 8 P.M. or earlier if all properties are sold. By hosting the sale online, bidders that would not normally be able to attend the auction in person are still able to participate.

This sale is open to the general public. Free registration and a list of available properties are now available through our website at www.LPSO.net. Bidders are encouraged to participate online from the comfort and privacy of their own computer, but if you wish to attend in person, a limited number of computer terminals will be available on the date of the tax sale on the third floor of the Ferd H. Block Building, located at 200 West 2nd Street in Thibodaux. These computer terminals will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. An LPSO representative will be on hand to answer any questions and direct you to a computer terminal.

A tax title sale is the sale of properties that have delinquent taxes due. The tax titles for these properties are sold to the public for the amount of the delinquent taxes due, plus any accrued interest, penalties, costs and other statutory impositions. The tax title sale is a “low bid wins” style auction in which the property is sold to the purchaser willing to bid on the least percent ownership interest in the property. Winning bidders of the tax sale are expected to pay for their purchases within 72 hours of the close of the auction. Payment must be made in full, and all sales are final.

Property owners must remit property tax payments by 4:00 P.M. on July 23, 2019, to avoid having their property subject to sale. Bills not paid in full by this time will result in the property being sold at the tax sale on July 24, 2019. Tax payments can be made at the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office Administration Office (200 Canal Boulevard, Thibodaux) or at the South Lafourche Sub-station (102 W. 91st Street, Cut Off). For additional information, property owners can call the Thibodaux office at (985) 449-4431 or the Galliano office at (985) 632-5844.

This auction and all future tax sales can be viewed online at www.LPSO.net. The link is just below the gold-colored “Tax Sale” graphic on the LPSO homepage. Using the convenient search options, bidders can set the parameters for any property that falls within their interests and budget.