Office of Juvenile Justice releases statement on escaped juvenile

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 1:01 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice assured the public today in a written statement that all legal measures were appropriately taken by their agency regarding the escape of a juvenile offender convicted of attempted murder from a Calcasieu Parish facility.

Lynell Reynolds, the then-13-year-old found guilty of robbing and attempting to murder 22-year-old Darrelle Scott, was being held in Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice custody, but he was released to a care program in Calcasieu Parish in February 2022.

Reynolds escaped from this care program earlier this month, and the public, including Scott was not made aware of the escape for nine days.

KPLC initially asked the OJJ if Reynolds, who just turned 18 years old, was considered a threat to the public, why the public wasn’t notified of Reynold’s escape, and more about what facility he escaped from and how he was able to escape.

The Office of Juvenile Justice Deputy Sec. Curtis Nelson Jr. said, “The Office of Juvenile Justice would like to assure the public, that all legal measures were taken by the agency to notify the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court, the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, the youth’s attorney, and the youth’s caregiver of the escape from the non-secure placement. On September 13, 2023, the Office of Juvenile Justice was notified that the youth left his placement without permission. Upon being provided this information, the Office of Juvenile Justice immediately notified the Lake Charles Police Department and placed a notice of his escape into the National Crime Information Center. Additionally, the Office of Juvenile Justice worked with the Lake Charles Police Department to issue a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) alert to all law enforcement agencies. Lastly, the Office of Juvenile Justice filed a warrant for the youth’s arrest with the Orleans Parish Juvenile Court which would have alerted the judge, district attorney, and youth’s attorney of the delinquent’s escape. The filing of the warrant and request for hearing also should have allowed the victim to be provided with notice of the warrant hearing, as the victim properly filed the crime victim notification forms.”

Louisiana law states that whenever a child escapes from a juvenile detention center, law enforcement agencies are authorized to release to the public the child’s name, age, physical description, and photograph.

KPLC continues to seek answers as this story develops.