Louisiana Insurance Man Rescues Elderly Woman from Kidnapping, Robbery

He wouldn’t call himself a hero, but the 83-year-old woman Dennis P. Neyland rescued from a carjack/kidnapping and robbery on the streets of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana, probably would.

Neyland, an insurance professional and reserve officer for the Slidell, Louisiana, police department says he was just in the right place at the right time. He credits his training in law enforcement — he was a police officer full-time before he entered the insurance business — for the ability to recognize when something’s amiss.

A regional sales manager for AmTrust North America, Neyland had just left a lunch meeting in Baton Rouge on May 9 with a friend (who’s also in insurance) when he noticed a woman in a late-model maroon Cadillac driving erratically in front of him.

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“The lady was stopping and going, and people were passing her. I actually thought she was having a medical emergency,” Neyland said.

Dennis Neyland

He could see that that the driver was elderly. Thinking maybe she had dementia, or was confused or lost, he pulled alongside her. When he did, “the carjacker popped up. I had my Glock out but they couldn’t see it. When I pulled up and said are you okay, [the driver] said ‘no’ and pointed in the back seat. That’s when the carjacker rolls her window “down and says. ‘I’m her caretaker you need to drive on.’ And the old lady says ‘no, she’s not.’”

Neyland keeps his police equipment in his car in case he needs to respond, he said. Grabbing his badge and gun, he told the carjacker to step out of the car. Neyland was wearing his AmTrust dress shirt so he didn’t particularly look like law enforcement officer, but he got out of his car and identified himself as such.

The carjacker stepped out of the car and he told her to wait there until Baton Rouge police arrived. She started to run away. She was wearing a black wig and “when I grabbed her, her hair came off. Then I grabbed her shirt.”

He was calling 911 and explaining it was a “108” — officer needs assistance — when the carjacker twisted out of her shirt. “She was completely nude from the waist up and she came after me to fight. I grabbed her again and she bit me twice. That’s when I put her to the ground and the Baton Rouge police responded. They arrested her,” he said.

A press release from the Baton Rouge Police Department identified the carjacker as Tamikia Raymond, 42. The driver of the vehicle was not named. Raymond was charged with armed robbery, false imprisonment with a dangerous weapon and battery on a police officer.

“They charged her pretty heavy,” Neyland said.

The elderly woman told Neyland after the incident that she had parked her car on the fourth floor of the Belle of Baton Rouge Casino parking garage. She parked there because there were no other cars on that floor. She said Raymond jumped into the backseat of the car, told the driver she had a gun and instructed her to drive to an ATM.

At the ATM the elderly woman withdrew $800 but Raymond saw that the account had a balance of $18,000. So, Raymond told the woman to go to the bank and withdraw the balance or she would kill her.

They were next to a Chase Bank when Neyland stopped them.

While the elderly driver never saw the gun, “it ended up being a BB gun that looked like a real Glock,” Neyland said.

Afterward the driver told Neyland that she was driving erratically on purpose, hoping someone would notice. “She was sharp as a tack,” Neyland said. “… She actually saved herself. … What caught me is she stopped at a green light. … She just stopped and everybody passed her.”

While she was extremely shaken by the incident, the elderly woman didn’t want the officers to call her son or daughter to come get her because, she said, they wouldn’t let her go to the casino anymore.

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