Michael Handley by accident recorded himself plotting spouse Schanda Handley’s kidnapping, prosecutors say

Schanda Handley and her daughter, Isabella Cumberland, have been at their residence on a quiet avenue in Lafayette, Louisiana, on August 6, 2017, when two males appeared at their entrance door. At first look they regarded like deliverymen, which was a welcome interruption, since Handley had been anxiously awaiting a garments steamer she had ordered.  

“I used to be so excited,” Handley instructed David Begnaud, CBS Information lead nationwide correspondent and “48 Hours” contributor. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, my steamer.'”

Her pleasure was reworked into terror, when as an alternative of dropping off a package deal, the 2 males held Handley at gunpoint, handcuffed her and threw her into the again of a van. 

She recounted the main points of her near-death expertise to Begnaud in “The Kidnapping of Schanda Handley,” an all-new “48 Hours.”

Schanda Handley
Schanda Handley was taken from her residence at gunpoint by two folks posing as deliverymen. It was a brazen kidnapping within the usually quiet suburban city of Lafayette, Louisiana. And it was not a random assault

CBS Information

“They hooded me as quickly as I went into the van,” Handley mentioned. “It was a van that did not have the home windows within the again.”

Cumberland watched helplessly as the lads sped off along with her mom.  

“As they’re driving away along with her, did you suppose that was the final time you’d ever see her?” Begnaud requested Cumberland.

“I believed there was an opportunity,” Cumberland answered.

Handley mentioned one of many abductors was straddling her behind the van, forcing drugs into her mouth, whereas the opposite erratically drove them out of city. She recounted starting to lose consciousness, as she says the lads threatened to sexually assault after which kill her.

“And I began praying,” Handley recounted.  

“48 Hours” investigates harrowing kidnapping of a Louisiana mother from her home


Her prayers have been answered when Deputy Chad Martin with the Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Workplace — who had simply clocked out of labor and was unaware of Handley’s kidnapping almost 60 miles away — noticed the van and tried to make a visitors cease. The abductors exited the freeway and tried to get away. After making a flip onto a dead-end street, they obtained caught within the mud and continued to flee on foot. As Martin investigated the van, he found a barely acutely aware Handley within the again.

“She checked out me,” Martin recounted. “She mentioned, ‘Are you the actual police? Are you the one which’s gonna kill me?'”

Martin assured Handley that she was secure. A day later, her kidnappers’ stays have been found in a waterway not removed from the place they’d deserted the van — having drowned as they tried to flee. Even then, Handley believed that the mastermind behind the plot was nonetheless at giant and a hazard to her.

“She had mentioned that she believed that her husband is the one which had paid them to kill her,” Martin remembers Handley telling him shortly after her rescue.

Michael and Schanda Handley
Michael and Schanda Handley

Schanda Handley

Investigators started trying into Handley’s estranged husband, Michael Handley, and found that within the months main as much as the kidnapping, Schanda had referred to as the police quite a few instances on Michael, and had even been granted a restraining order. In addition they discovered a quickly accumulating record of proof pointing to his involvement within the kidnapping itself. They realized he had rented the van a day earlier than the kidnapping, and had additionally bought {the handcuffs} used to restrain Handley throughout it. He was arrested after a four-day manhunt. He was charged with a number of kidnapping counts, in addition to conspiracy to commit second-degree homicide. 

Then, as prosecutors have been constructing their case, Schanda made a damning discovery of her personal whereas she was cleansing out a distant property the couple owned in Mississippi. It was a digicam that Michael had been utilizing for safety. However, with a movement activated recording characteristic, it seems he had by accident turned the digicam on himself.

“All put collectively, what did the digicam report?” Begnaud requested Schanda.

“I imply, a whole bunch of hours,” she responded.

Prosecutor Kenny Hebert watched the months’ value of video documenting the time main as much as the kidnapping. Hebert mentioned that on no less than one event, Michael was recorded expressing how his spouse wanted to die. In a video clip from simply two weeks earlier than the kidnapping, Michael was caught on digicam with one of many kidnappers, Sylvester Bracey, planning Schanda’s abduction whereas they chatted in the lounge of the Mississippi property, Hebert mentioned.

“[Michael Handley] particularly says, ‘It is nearly unimaginable for anybody to get in right here,'” Hebert mentioned. “To which Bracey responds, ‘And it will be unimaginable for her to get out.'”

Michael Handley and Sylvester Bracey
Michael Handley, proper, is caught on digicam with one of many kidnappers, Sylvester Bracey, prosecutors say, planning Schanda’s abduction.

fifteenth Judicial Court docket

On prime of the opposite bodily proof, Hebert mentioned, they now had documented proof Michael had plotted Shanda’s kidnapping — theorizing his final plan was to have her killed.   

“I believed, ‘I will need to have achieved somethin’ proper on the planet,'” Hebert mentioned in regards to the video proof.

In July of 2021, Michael Handley pleaded responsible to second-degree kidnapping, and was later sentenced to 35 years in jail. A small reduction to Schanda, who mentioned she fears the day her now ex-husband will ultimately stroll out of jail.   

“I might fairly he by no means get out,” Schanda mentioned. “As soon as Michael’s out, I am not free.”

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