Murder suspect may still be loose in area

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, August 21, 2012

LARTO, La. — A man suspected of killing three people in Catahoula Parish had not been found late Monday night. Authorities believe he may still be in the area.

Lee John Ponthieux Jr., 41, of Mansura, La., evaded authorities all day Monday, prompting state and local SWAT teams to enter an abandoned house, a residence and sheds in the small lake community of Larto, La., in pursuit.

Ponthieux is considered dangerous, and anyone who thinks they may have seen him is asked to call the Catahoula Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-744-5411.

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Catahoula Parish James Kelly said authorities believe Ponthieux shot and killed three friends with a shotgun when a fight between the group turned deadly.

The shootings reportedly happened on Moody Road in Larto sometime before 3 a.m. Monday.

The victims are Edris A. Ellard, 51, of Jonesville; John Ellard Jr., 45, of Monterey, and Annie Bell Adams, 73, of Jonesville.

Kelly said Adams is the mother of Edris Ellard. John Ellard is Edris Ellard’s ex-husband.

The murders happened at Adams’ residence.

Kelly said Edris Ellard’s sister Debbie Adams called police shortly before 3 a.m. after leaving the residence during the fight and then hearing gunshots.

Debbie Adams, Kelly said, is being booked on an obstruction of justice charge. Kelly declined to give specifics on the charge.

Kelly said police believe Ponthieux is still in the area because it is heavily wooded, making it easy to hide.

Ponthieux is 6 feet 1 inches tall, 190 pounds, has long brown hair and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a gray T-shirt.

Kelly said Ponthieux has previously been arrested in Catahoula Parish, but Kelly could not recall the charge.

The Louisiana State Police, U.S. Marshals, Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Louisiana Probation and Parole Office and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries are all assisting with apprehending Ponthieux.

Kelly said Monday night that there were still people in the area searching, and he said the agencies will be out in full force and in the air with a helicopter again today looking for Ponthieux.