Sheriff Daniel Edwards says the TPSO is conducting an active investigation into the case of a Ponchatoula woman who claims that she lost custody of her daughter to her rapist.

Get more local news and videos at AN17.com

HAMMOND---Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards reports that as of June 15, 2022, the case involving allegations against 46-year-old John Barnes of Ponchatoula, LA, has been turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

This decision was made after the investigation revealed many layers and complexities surrounding the case, including statutory violations that were in effect during the 2005 timeframe of when the incident occurred. Due to the sensitive nature of cases involving sexual assault victims and juveniles, the sheriff’s office, along with other law enforcement agencies, does not have the luxury of releasing detailed information to the public. In a statement released yesterday, 21st Judicial District Family Court Judge Jeff Cashe signed a “Reasons For Judgement” which allows court documents related to this case to be made available to the public through the Tangipahoa Parish Clerk of Court’s Office.

In tracing this case back to the time the initial complaint was filed on July 1, 2015, it was discovered that the report never made it through the proper channels within the department to be assigned for investigation. Therefore, our department absolutely dropped the ball, and we simply must own our mistake. This is a mistake, however, that simply has never been a problem before or since, and we must make sure to keep it that way.

“The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office has reviewed and identified the breakdown in operations relating to the initial complaint filed by the complainant. Since that time, enhancements to department procedures have been implemented and measures put in place to ensure reports from the public never go overlooked or mishandled. Especially those cases alleging criminal acts against our youth.” says Edwards. "The Sheriff’s Office is dedicated to protecting children and will do everything possible to protect the youth of our community from abuse and neglect.”

Additionally, it is important to note that the complainant did not follow up on this matter until April of 2022. Upon receiving notice, a team of investigators were assigned to and worked diligently to delve deep into the facts surrounding the case. Due to the complex nature of their findings, the case was turned over to the District Attorney’s Office.

Sheriff Edwards urges the public to dial 9-1-1 for all emergency situations. Citizens can also file a police report directly with our office by calling (985) 748- 8147. Sheriff Edwards strongly discourages the use of social media to report crimes. Edwards also reminds the public that filing a false police report is a crime. Those found guilty of doing so will be fully prosecuted.

Recommended for you