By KEVIN CHIRI
Tammany West news
COVINGTON – The St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office detective unit sent another clear message to would-be criminals in the parish by quickly making arrests this week in a frightening home break-in that involved tying up a 9-year-old boy and his mother.
Sheriff Jack Strain announced this week that two men have been arrested in the robbery, with a third being sought.
“What these guys did to these people was a terrible crime,” Sheriff’s Office Spokesman Capt. George Bonnett said. “And when terrible things happen to people in St. Tammany Parish, we will throw every available resource at the crime.”
Not only did the Sheriff’s Office detectives and deputies “work the case night and day since its inception,” but the nature of the crime led Crimestoppers to post a $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and indictment of the suspects.
In the end, however, parish detectives proved their ability by making the arrest through their own investigation, and without any of the many leads that came in through the Crimestoppers reward.
“This was a very challenging case, but through hard work and determination, justice will be served for the victims and their family,” Strain said.
The case involved a family who had moved here from Honduras approximately one year ago. On Saturday, May 4 at about 9:30 a.m., two men broke into the River Oaks home in Covington and held the 9-year-old boy, his mother, and three other adults hostage, as they searched for money they believed to be in the home.
Mario Zelaya, an orthopedic surgeon, told the room full of press representatives that his family was originally thrilled to be living here, after coming from a country where it was so dangerous to go out that they lived inside a home that was more like a compound.
He spoke at the press conference when the crime was first announced, and said the incident forced him to take his family back to Honduras until the suspects’ arrest.
“These men were cowards to tie up a 9-year-old,” Zelaya said. “My son is waking up with nightmares, and my wife wakes up every morning trembling. I thank God and the Virgin Mary that they are OK, but these men messed up our hearts and our minds and they don’t deserve to be on the streets.”
As of this morning, the suspects are no longer on the streets as the Sheriff’s Office arrested Beau Ledoux, 20, of 84672 Clarence Rd. in Sun, and charged him with one count of home invasion and one count of theft of a motor vehicle; Chris Allo, 34, of 18236 Monga Dr., Covington, and charged him with one count of criminal conspiracy.
Investigators are attempting to locate Jonathan “Coffee” Hudson, 27, of 200 Nottingham Ln. in Slidell, who has an extensive history of burglary and theft. He is a white male, 6’2”, 220 pounds, and is believed to be armed and dangerous.
When the two men broke into the home on May 4, they stole a valuable gold medallion with the Virgin Mary on it, along with a small amount of cash, multiple firearms and other jewelry. They also stole a Mercedes Benz belonging to Zelaya’s wife.
Working with agents from the Louisiana Office of Probation and Parole, Sheriff’s office detectives developed information over the weekend identifying Ledoux as one of the suspects.
He was taken into custody by deputies without incident at his home in Sun on Saturday afternoon, and during questioning by detectives, admitted his role in the incident.
Allo was subsequently taken into custody without incident at his home and was uncooperative with detectives prior to his arrest.
Bonnett said investigators have determined Allo arranged and planned the crime, while Ledoux and Hudson were in the home during the incident. Additional charges are expected to be brought against all three after Hudson is brought into custody.
Strain acknowledged the combined effort dozens of deputies and detectives from Street Crimes, Patrol, Narcotics, K-9, and Investigations.