At this point, you’ve probably just read this true life account of the Ricky Sinclair story. I’ve witten this story in the first person, from Ricky’s viewpoint. My only source of information thus far has been Ricky and Jeannie. The majority of the story occurred many years ago. With this in mind, I decided that it would be good to interview some people that knew Ricky both then and now. I wanted to see how they recalled it. I talked with Sheriff Bill Daniel, Officer Ernest James, Chase Team Captain Bobby Olibeaux, and judge Wilson Ramshur. They each gave me their version. I also interviewed Brother Jonathon Samuel, a former pastor of Ricky’s.
Sheriff Daniel, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
If there was ever a survivor, it would have to be Ricky Sinclair. He’s truly a survivor. I’m sure that he could teach the United States Army a trick or two about survival.
He ran out of our jail on April 21, 1987. We had just brought him here on charges of distribution of marijuana. He had bonded out of jail in St. Bernard Parish. We picked him up there, delivered him to our court, and then took him to the jail. After using the telephone, he ran out the front door. Our deputies chased him, but he got away. We immediately called the Angola search team. We also called in some helicopters. Everybody we could get was involved with the search. He was on the run from April 21 to June 15, 1987. He survived in the woods for nearly two months.
On June 15, we got a lead from someone that had seen Ricky. We caught him at his mother’s home in Wakefield. He was in the attic. One of my deputies went into the attic and got him. He told me that he had survived off of raw animals: armadillos, frogs, that kind of stuff. He ate raw turnips and dewberries. He even made some dew berry wine. He had really lost a lot of weight.
Ricky had been involved with drugs for a number of years. He had previously been in our jail on drug distribution charges. He’s really had a hard life, but I believe that he’s finally got it together today. From what I can tell, he’s living a clean life. He’s on the right track. He’s active in his church. He studies the Bible. I just hope he’ll stick with it.
He found a pistol in his yard one day while mowing his grass. Obviously, someone had thrown it in Ricky’s yard. He called our office and asked us to come get it. We did.
On a separate occasion, an escaped convict went to Ricky’s house to seek advice. Ricky convinced the guy to turn himself in and then called our office. We went out there and picked him up. Ricky is really doing good. I understand that he’s the number one salesman in Louisiana with his company. I’m happy for him. I hope that he’ll continue to do good. Ricky Sinclair has definitely changed.
Officer Ernest James, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
I had heard of Ricky Sinclair, but I had never met him. The first time I recall seeing Ricky, well up close, was when they brought him here to jail. I was over at the computer. I was running a driver’s license check. Ricky was either on the phone or in the bathroom. I can’t remember which. I do remember him hitting that front door though. Man, he was really moving. We chased him, but he got away. We called for a search team, bloodhounds and helicopters.
When we caught him, he had lost a lot of weight. He was really thin, and man did he have an appetite. You didn’t have to force him to eat. By the time he left here, going to prison, he had put most of his weight back on. He might have even been a little bit on the heavy side.
If I had to describe Ricky Sinclair in one word, I would use the word “tough.” That’s Ricky in a nutshell. He was a great high school athlete. I do remember that. He could have gone somewhere in football. He was little, but man was he tough. He’s one guy that I’d hate to ever have to fight. I believe there are very few people that would have wanted to fight him, one on one, that day he escaped. He was ripping out of here like a madman.
When he was in jail here, after the escape, I gave him a Bible that his mother brought down here. He started reading it. He was searching for answers. Being a born again Christian, I began to witness to him about Jesus. I love all people, black or white, whoever. I love both the good and the bad. That’s why I witnessed to him, and fortunately was able to lead him to the Lord.
Ricky was saved that day. I mean really saved. I brought Bible studies to him. He’d take the test. Our pastor graded them. Ricky scored as high as anybody in our church, higher than most.
Ricky is one of my best friends today. God has really changed him. About nine years after receiving Christ, Ricky came and preached at my church. It was a powerful message. He’s a good preacher. He’s a good guy. You can believe that everything that Ricky has told you in this book is exactly like he recalls it. He’s honest. I can’t wait to read this book.
Mr. Bobby Oliveaux, Chase Team Captain, Louisiana State Penitentiary, Angola, Louisiana
I’ve known Ricky all of his life. His dad owned a meat packing company. My dad was good friends with his dad. I had heard that Ricky was into drugs, but I really didn’t know the extent of it. The whole thing kind of caught me by surprise. The sheriff’s office called me to come chase him down. He had escaped from jail. I chased him all around this parish. You could hear him up ahead of the dogs. He was running through briars and brush. He sounded like a bull running through that stuff. I know the briars and branches must have really torn up his arms and face.
Ricky stayed in the woods for many weeks eating raw armadillos, frogs, and no telling what else. We weren’t chasing him the whole time. We all had other things to do. I had to go to my regular job at Angola. Occasionally, someone would call in with an alleged sighting, and we would go out and chase him again. Chasing Ricky was like chasing a rabbit in his own briar patch. He knew where he was, and where he was going.
Since prison, Ricky Sinclair has really been a changed man. I worked at Angola for 27 years. I’ve been around convicts all my life. I grew up around ‘em. I’ve seen convicts try to use the Bible to get favor with the parole board. It happens all the time. You can tell which ones are sincere and which ones aren’t. Ricky Sinclair is sincere. I’ve seen him on several different occasions since his prison term. He’s got that glow in his eyes. You can tell that what he has is real. In addition to that, he doesn’t have any harbored hatred or resentment. He just seems to know that chasing him was my job, and he doesn’t have a problem with it, though most of ‘em do.
The first time I saw him after prison, he acted like he was glad to see me. I know that he’s really a Christian. If I needed help with something, I could call Ricky Sinclair right now and he’d be here. I’m sure of that. He’s a friend. He’s also a pleasure to be around. He’s a nice, happy-go- lucky, smiling type guy. You couldn’t ask for anyone nicer to be around. He’s really changed.
Judge Wilson Ramshur, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
Ricky has always been a personable type of guy. The whole time that I’ve been on this bench, he’s treated me with courtesy and respect. That’s the way that Ricky has always been. The way that he deals with people really hasn’t changed. Ricky has always been a friendly guy.
As far as I know, he was never a violent person. The drugs were the thing with Ricky. He just insisted on dealing drugs. Apparently, he didn’t think that there was anything wrong with that. He spent some time in jail with no demonstrable signs of improvement. Of course you know about the escape. He lived in the woods for several months. The sheriff’s office caught him in the attic of his mother’s house.
His dad died while he was in jail on drug charges. At his mother’s request, we released him early to attend the funeral. Almost immediately he was back in the drugs. It took a prison experience to bring him to the point of examining his life and deciding that he wanted to change. At some point during prison, he had Christ revealed to him. He made a decision to accept Christ, and subsequently, has made some very significant changes in his lifestyle. This is one instance in which the process, at least with the help of the good Lord, has worked.
Mr. Jonathon Samuel, Assistant Pastor, District I, Bethany World Prayer Center, Baker, Louisiana
Ricky Sinclair is a genuine man of God. When I first met Ricky, five years ago, I didn’t know what to think. He was completely different from anyone that I’d ever met. He had a zeal about him. I didn’t know if it was just an act or the real thing. Over the years, I’ve found out that it’s definitely the real thing. Jesus said that we are to be disciplers of men. Ricky is a discipler. He’ll move entire families into his home to minister Jesus to them. I know of at least 4 families that he’s taken in. He’s taken in drug addicts, alcoholics, and homeless people right off the streets. He gives and gives and gives of himself, and that’s the character of God in him. He lays down his life for people, and that’s what God wants us to do.
Ricky has taken in people that, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have moved into my house. I’ve had to counsel Ricky about this on several occasions. I told him that he needed to take time for himself and his family. I told him that he couldn’t help everyone, that he has an obligation to himself and his family. Since then, he’s gotten a better balance between discipling and family. I’ve seen his zeal mellow out with wisdom, but he still takes people in.
I love Ricky; I think a whole lot of him. He’s always asking, “Brother, what can I do for you? Do you need anything? I love you, brother! If I can do anything for you, let me know, brother.” He’s always thinking about the other person: “Can I serve you? Do you need anything? How can I help you?”
I really appreciate Ricky. I’d like to have an army of Ricky Sinclairs. We would win this world quick if we had an army full of people like Ricky. He’s really a person to be admired. And he has so much energy. I told him one time, “Ricky, if we could plug a 440 line into you somehow, there’d be enough electricity to supply all of Baton Rouge.” He loves people. He takes the bull by the horns. I’ve tried to help him learn to pace himself. He just goes and goes and goes. He’s the same type person as the Apostle Paul. He’s not going to wait around on someone else. He’s gonna go ahead and do it himself. I’m afraid that he’s going to burn himself out, but so far he hasn’t. God is using him in a mighty way. Ricky is a man after God’s heart. I would recommend Ricky to any ministry, any pastor, or any church. If everyone strived to do the will of God like Ricky does, it would be a great world.
The Ricky Sinclair story is truly an amazing demonstration of the grace and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Though circumstances may differ, we each have things in our past that have separated us from God. In the New Testament, the Bible says:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJ) It also says:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3:10 NKJ); and: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJ)
As a sinful person with a sin debt, the only hope that we have for being reconciled to God is through the blood of Jesus Christ. You see, the good news is that Jesus Christ has come, has died to reconcile us to God, and has risen from the dead. He’s alive today and is seated at the right hand of God. His righteousness is available to cover your sin. He shed his blood for that. It’s available to any and all that ask for it. He wants to save you. That was his purpose for coming to planet Earth, to save you. If you would like to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord, simply pray the following sinner’s prayer in a sincere manner. Pray out loud.
I know that I’ve sinned against you, that I’ve fallen short of your glory and honor. I know that there are things in my life that need to be changed. I’ve never had success in changing these things on my own.
I know that the Bible is the true Word of God. In it, you promise salvation to whosoever will believe in Jesus and ask him to save them.
Therefore Father, I have decided to ask Jesus to be the Lord of my life. In the name of Jesus, I am asking you to please forgive my past. Help me change the areas that are not pleasing to you and give me a desire to do the right thing. I confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Thank you Father.
In Jesus’ Name I Pray. Amen.
If you’re not presently attending a good, Bible-
teaching church, I would like to close by encouraging you to do so. Ifyou are in the Greater Baton Rouge Area, I welcome you to visit with us at our church:
Miracle Place Church 2080 Highway 19 Baker, Louisiana 70714
(on the corner of Baker Boulevard and Highway 19)
We are non-denominational and offer contemporary praise, exciting children’s church, a safe nursery and state of the art youth facilities. You will see people from all walks of life-from suits to bluejeans-come just the way you are.
If you would like me to come do motivational speaking or to come share my testimony with your organization or church, or if you would like to obtain a copy of this book, please call or write. We recommend a suggested donation of $5 per book to help defray the cost of printing and shipping. For your convenience, you may order with your VISA or MasterCard. Please use the form in the back of this book or contact us at the number and address above.
I speak the blessing of God over every area of your life-