New Orleans juvenile offender convicted of attempted second-degree murder at large after escaping from Calcasieu facility

Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 5:59 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 9:17 PM CDT
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CALCASIEU PARISH, La. (KPLC) - A juvenile offender who was convicted of attempted murder escaped from a juvenile facility in Calcasieu Parish earlier this month, and the victim of his shooting was not notified of his escape for more than a week.

Lynell Reynolds was being held in Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice custody, but he was released to a care program in Calcasieu Parish in February 2022. It was this care program from which he escaped, Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kayla Vincent said.

Orleans Parish District Attorney Jason Williams said his office was not made aware of the escape for nine days, and they were the ones to notify the victim on Sept. 22.

“Friday, my office discovered that a juvenile defendant, recently released from secure custody by the Court, escaped after release,” Williams said in a written statement on Sunday. The defendant was previously confined in OJJ custody on an attempted second-degree murder charge. Following a sentence modification by an Orleans Parish juvenile Court Judge, the defendant was released to a non-secure care at program in Lake Charles. This juvenile’s release occurred over the objections of our prosecutors. Regrettably, my office was not made aware of the escape by the court or the Office of Juvenile Justice.”

“My office contacted the survivor, as soon as we learned of the escape,” Williams said. “The grandmother of this paralyzed survivor has faithfully attended every hearing for this matter. We objected to furloughs and early release from secure care due to the violent nature of the offense and threat of harm felt by this victim’s family.”

Then-13-year-old Reynolds was found guilty of robbing and attempting to murder 22-year-old Darrelle Scott, who was shot in the back and paralyzed from the waist down, while he was walking down a road in New Orleans on March 26, 2019, according to reports.

During his court hearing, Chief Juvenile Judge Candice Anderson said Reynolds was no stranger to the justice system. Before the shooting, Reynolds and several other teens reportedly drove up to Scott and another man and demanded a dollar. He then shot Scott, the bullet hit his spine, putting him in a hospital for several months.

Anderson said Reynolds had been involved in more than a dozen cases prior to this incident. His family and even some of his teachers said he suffered unimaginable trauma after witnessing the murders of his parents and siblings. They asked that he be sent to a mental facility for treatment.

Initially, a judge sentenced Reynolds to confinement in a state juvenile facility until he turned 21, but could be released at 17 if he stayed out of trouble, earned his high school diploma, and learned two trades.

After a motion was filed to modify Reynolds’ sentence, Scott told our sister station in an interview that he was notified Reynolds was being moved to a non-secure facility.

“We went through all these court hearings and everything,” Scott said in an interview in 2022. “Hearing about his behavior and the expectations about him to even get out at 17, and nothing that was said, or the requirements were never met, and you’re giving it to him anyway.”

“My biggest fear is that he is going to get out,” Scott said.

It’s from this unsecured facility he escaped, though it is unclear if he escaped during the transport or before.

“We sincerely hope Lynell Reynolds is apprehended without any harm or injury to community members or law enforcement,” Williams said.

The Office of Juvenile Justice has yet to make a statement regarding Reynold’s escape. We’ve asked the OJJ if Reynolds is considered a threat to the public, why wasn’t the public notified, and more about what facility he escaped from and how he was able to escape.

Reynolds recently turned 18-years-old. The Orleans Parish District Attorney told our sister station this does not impact the charges he’s already facing, but it does remove certain protections of his identity.

We are also currently trying to get a current photo of Reynolds. According to state law, whenever a child escapes from a juvenile detention center, law enforcement agencies are able to release to the public the child’s name, age, physical description, and photograph.