Lawrence Michael Handley
New filings in Lafayette kidnapping suspect Lawrence Michael Handley’s divorce case allege he orchestrated the plot to abduct his estranged wife, who says she was handcuffed, stripped, tortured and threatened with rape and death while Handley sat in wait for her arrival.
Authorities last week took the Lafayette businessman into custody at a Slidell motel, just four days after police found the woman bound in the back of van along Interstate 10 — and the two alleged kidnappers-for-hire were found drowned in the Intracoastal Canal.
Now, as Handley remains in the Lafayette Parish jail in lieu of $266,000 bail in the kidnapping conspiracy, a judge has granted a restraining order barring him from access to any of their shared assets.
Police have not identified the victim as Handley’s wife. But in documents filed in the court case on Tuesday, she details the event, further alleging Handley not only bought the “items necessary to kidnap, bind, torture and abuse” her, but that he tried to charter an airplane “to evade capture for his crimes.”
After grabbing her, the two kidnappers were supposed to take Handley’s wife to him, according to the court filings. The location where he was waiting is not identified in the court documents.
Handley had been involved in a bitter divorce for months before someone reported the Aug. 6 kidnapping from the couple’s home on Founders Street. Police say two men barged into the home, handcuffed two adults and a juvenile and took one of the women away with a bag over her head.
In the documents, Handley’s wife cites her abduction at gunpoint as evidence to block Handley from accessing their community property.
She alleges Handley plotted the kidnapping from another home they shared in Woodville, Mississippi, near the state’s southwest Louisiana border. She also claims that upon her kidnapping, her abductors “stripped, tortured and abused” her, threatening rape and murder while “in route to their destination where Mr. Handley was waiting.”
In an order issued this week, 15th Judicial District Judge Edward Rubin granted her access to their assets so she can hire security detail and obtain psychological care for her and her child.
On the day of the kidnapping, the 27-year-old captors, Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Montreal Haynes of Jackson, Mississippi, caught police attention after driving along the I-10 shoulder during stopped traffic in West Baton Rouge Parish. Police pursued the van until it became stuck in the mud, and the men fled on foot.
The bodies of the two men, both of whom had extensive criminal records, were discovered in the Intracoastal Canal the next afternoon.
Handley co-founded Townsend, a Louisiana network of substance abuse treatment centers for which he worked as CEO. The company, which advertises opioid-addiction medicine Suboxone as part of its treatment repertoire, recently sold for a cash and stock deal valued at $21.25 million.
At the time of the 2015 sale, the company had generated around $10.9 million in revenue in the first nine months of the year, The Advocate reported at the time.
Records show Handley’s been convicted of fraud. He pleaded guilty in 2005 to paying for a private charter jet from Lafayette to Boston with a fake cashier’s check worth $22,000, according to records in Louisiana’s U.S. Western District.
Handley now faces two counts of conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping and an online impersonation count that’s so far gone unexplained by law enforcement. He also faces three counts of violating protective orders — one of them a felony — because of a restraining order granted against him during the divorce proceedings earlier this year.
A court date in the case has not been set, as formal criminal charges have not been filed at this point.
Criminal defense attorney Kevin Stockstill said on Saturday he’ll be representing Handley in the case.
The original version of this KATC-TV article can be found here.
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