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Officers Spot, Arrest Louisiana Fugitive In Downtown LA

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) —A fugitive from Louisiana was nabbed less than a day after arriving in downtown Los Angeles by bus, thanks to the keen eye of two Los Angeles Police Department officers.

KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta reported that Central Division Officers David Kong and Ryar De La Torre were patrolling the area of Fifth and Hill streets Monday when they spotted a woman who fit a flyer’s description of Keana Barnes, a 33-year-old convicted killer who had been on the run since escaping from prison in January.

De La Torre said he first noticed a tattoo under Barnes’ bottom lip that was mentioned in the wanted ad that was circulated at the department two weeks ago.

“It says ‘Jigga,’” he said.

De La Torre said he couldn’t remember why Barnes was wanted at the time, but he and Officer Kong kept asking her questions.

“I asked her, ‘Where are you from originally?’ That’s when she told me, ‘New Orleans, Louisiana.’ That rang the other bell,” said De La Torre.

The officers said Barnes initially gave them a fake name and date of birth.

“She was a very smooth operator. It was kind of hard to decipher what is the truth and what isn’t,” said Kong.

Barnes eventually gave the officers her real name and told them how she broke out of the Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women on Jan. 1.

“She broke the window. She climbed out of the prison walls, went across the prison yard, hopped over three barbed wire fences, (got) into a swamp, got into a wooded area, found a highway, hitched a ride,” said Kong.

De La Torre said Barnes was proud of her successful escape and her notoriety.

“It was very shocking to me that she was fascinated with her own story. She told me we were going to be famous because she was on ‘America’s Most Wanted’,” he said.

Barnes, who had previously eluded capture in numerous cities, including a stint in Mexico, was facing a 25-year sentence in the deaths of two men.

She was placed on the U.S. Marshal’s list of the nation’s top 15 most wanted criminals and was considered to be violent, armed and dangerous.

Barnes is now awaiting extradition to Louisiana.

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