The 18-year-old stepdaughter of an assistant prison warden was murdered by an inmate that escaped July 27 in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana.
Amanda Leigh Carney, a recent graduate of Summerfield High School, was taken hostage by Deltra Henderson, a 39-year old inmate at the David Wade Correctional Center in Homer. Henderson died in a shootout with police after he stabbed Carney to death, police say.
Henderson was in prison for three separate convictions related to drugs and robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years for distributing cocaine, 30 years for attempted armed robbery and 30 years for aggravated burglary. He’d been serving his sentence since May 4, 2001, and was eligible for “good time release” March 28, 2025, documents obtained by KTBS said.
Carney was the stepdaughter of James Arnold and the daughter of Andrea Bell, both who work at the prison. She’s been described by friends and colleagues as being a “sweet” girl. She was set to go to college in the fall and played softball in her spare time.
Here’s what you need to know about Carney and the incident:
1. Henderson Kidnapped Carney Inside Her Car & Stabbed Her to Death
Authorities went on a manhunt for Henderson around 2 p.m. on July 27 when they noticed he’d gone missing from the Claiborne Parish prison. After escaping, police said Henderson kidnapped Carney and stole her vehicle. Reports say that Carney was on her way to work when she was abducted.
Henderson ended up crashing Carney’s vehicle in a wooded area not far from the prison, and Carney’s dead body was later found in the area with stab wounds. Additional details of her murder haven’t yet been made available by authorities.
After ditching Carney’s vehicle in the woods, police said Henderson had another confrontation with a different area resident, stealing the person’s vehicle and crashing it, too. He ditched the second vehicle and ran to a nearby property that was on the prison grounds — the Warden J.O. Whittington Firing Range — and located a gun.
Police ended up tracking Henderson to the home, and a standoff ensued between him and police. He barricaded himself inside of the home as police responded to the scene.
Officers said in a statement that they hoped to take Henderson “peacefully,” but he began firing at officers, who returned fire and killed him.
It’s currently unclear if Henderson had any interactions with Arnold or Bell in the past while serving his sentence.
2. Counselors Have Been Brought to the Prison to Offer Their Services
The police department and the Claiborne Parish community are reeling from Carney’s murder. James M. Le Blanc, the secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections said a team of grief counselors are at the prison along with the department’s Critical Incident Stress Management team to offer services to those that are reeling from the incident.
“Our hearts hurt today as we grieve, and mourn the loss of one of our own,” Le Blanc said. “This is a dark day for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this young lady, David Wade staff, and all those affected by this tragedy.
“I am extremely proud of our staff for their outstanding dedication and professionalism as well as their strength and rapid response in handling this tragic situation. We’re thankful for our law enforcement partners, Louisiana State Police and the Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office, for their tremendous response and support.”
Henderson was serving a sentence for a botched armed robbery in 1999 where he shot a girl and her mother in Farmerville, Louisiana. He had known the woman since they were children and shot her in the face, leaving her permanently disfigured. Her daughter was shot on her body and was paralyzed from the waist down.
According to the case documents, Henderson and four other men entered the home of Steve and Darlene Goldsby late in the evening September 8, 1999. Their daughter Athena was in the room while her brother Willie Heard were asleep in another room of the house. The family was awoken by the group of men.
Darlene’s testimony in court said that she awoke when she heard their bedroom door being pushed open. The bedroom was dark, but she could see the silhouette of the intruders standing in the doorway.
Once they were noticed, the man, later identified as Henderson, fired shots toward the bed. One of them struck Darlene in her face and another hit Athena on her side. Steve had awoken to the gunfire and pulled his wife to the floor with him. Athena was unable to move.
“Come on out, I know you’re over there,” Steve testified as hearing one of the men say before he warned the family “not to try anything funny.” “Come on out, come out. I got this nine, I got this nine.”
Darlene was able to recognize the voice of the man as that of Henderson, a man she said she knew since she was a child.
Steve grabbed a gun of his own from under the bed and loaded it, firing outside of his bedroom window to get his neighbors’ attention. After the gunfire, the group of men fled.
The family immediately alerted authorities, and Henderson was arrested and charged with aggravated burglary and attempted armed robbery.
3. A Vigil & Memorial Service Has Been Planned for Carney
A report by KTBS 3 News said that Summerfield High School Principal Shane Lee will set a date and a time for a vigil and remembrance for Carney to be held at the school. It will likely be held after her funeral service. He added that counselors will “absolutely” be available for students at the school, which starts up August 9.
“There’s no words to express the sorrow in our hearts today,” said Lee. “We lost one of our own. A young lady that we cherish. A lady that excelled in academics, athletics, and was a true role model to fellow classmates. Please be in prayer for the Summerfield School community, her family, and Claiborne Parish.”
Carney graduated from the school in May and was on her way to a career in the medical field.
4. Carney Was Going to Attend College in the Fall
According to her Facebook profile, Carney was going to attend Southern Arkansas University starting this fall. The school is located in Magnolia, Arkansas, and she was going to be pursuing a nursing degree, KTBS 3 reported.
Over the summer, Carney worked as a cashier at Brookshire’s Food & Pharmacy in Homer, Louisiana. Her manager Hal Norman said Carney was always a joy to be around.
“She did a great job and we’re all saddened to hear about her loss,” Norman said to The Shreveport Times. “She was a sweet girl.”
5. Carney Played on Summerfield’s Softball Team
One of Carney’s favorite past times was softball. She played for her high school’s team and wore No. 25, her MaxPreps profile said.
According to The Vicksburg Post, Carney is the granddaughter of John Bell, who lives in Vicksburg, Mississippi. She has an 11-year-old sister who’s spent the summer with family in Vicksburg.