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Explosives investigation continues in Catahoula Parish

JONESVILLE — The “slow and meticulous” process of searching for explosives in Catahoula Parish continued Tuesday.

The searches began after Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a call Monday morning about a possible bomb in a vehicle on U.S. 84.

The deputies responded to a residence and found evidence that an explosion had occurred. No injuries were reported.

Further investigation led to the arrest of a local man, Bill Womack, who was charged with possession of explosives and having a concealed weapon.

Catahoula Parish Sheriff James Kelly said during initial questioning Womack said there could be more explosive devices located throughout the parish.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) joined Louisiana State Police troopers on scene to search various locations in the parish.

The searches resulted in portions of U.S. 84 being closed for several hours Monday.

The Rapides Parish Bomb Squad and the Fort Polk Bomb Squad also responded Tuesday to help with the investigation.

“The investigation is now targeted on the Womack’s residence where several explosive devices have been removed and detonated,” Kelly told the Catahoula News-Booster. “The residents in the Manifest area may have heard many of the explosions Monday night.

“This will be a slow and meticulous process, and CPSO and all agencies involved are taking our time to make sure all devices are found and destroyed to ensure the safety of everyone in Catahoula Parish.”

ATF Public Information Officer Kevin Moran was unable to provide updates on the situation Tuesday.