Residents of Lafayette, Louisiana witnessed a horrific kidnapping attempt when Schanda Handley was kidnapped at gunpoint from her front door and forced into an unknown van. Although her daughter, Isabella Cumberland, was present with Schanda at the time, she could only watch helplessly as two men dragged her mother away. “48 Hours: The Abduction of Schanda Handley” takes the viewer through the incident and tells how a stroke of luck saved her. Let’s dive into the details surrounding this case and find out Schanda Handley’s current whereabouts, shall we?
Who is Schanda Handley?
A resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, Schanda Handley was very popular in her community. Although the locality in which she resided was quiet, Schanda was extremely helpful and never hesitated to offer help to anyone who needed it. She was also very friendly in her dealings and made friends wherever she went. Although Schanda is married, she and her ex-husband, Michael Handley, lived apart. During their time together, the couple even shared a daughter, Isabella Cumberland, who was living with Schanda at the time of the abduction. Nevertheless, her relationship with her ex-husband was on the decline, and in addition to repeatedly calling the police, Schanda even had a restraining order against Michael.
On August 6, 2017, Schanda and her daughter, Isabella Cumberland, were enjoying a quiet afternoon at their home in Lafayette, Louisiana, when they heard a knock at the door. Looking out the window, Schanda noticed two strangers who looked like delivery men standing on her porch. As she was waiting for delivery of a clothes steamer she had ordered, Schanda rushed to open the door. However, she was stunned when the men pulled out a gun and held her at gunpoint. They grabbed her, handcuffed her hands behind her back, put a bag over her head and forced her into the back of a waiting van. Schanda fought for her life and even called for help, but Isabella was helpless as she didn’t want her mother to be shot. Eventually, Isabella had to stand and watch as the men drove away in the van.
Schanda later mentioned that while one of the kidnappers was driving the van, the other was riding with her in the back and trying to force pills into her mouth. When Schanda refused to cooperate, they threatened her with dire circumstances, including sexual assault and murder. Still, she held out hope of escaping and did her best to stay calm. As fate would have it, Deputy Chad Martin quickly noticed the van speeding down the road and tried to stop it. Determined not to get caught, the kidnappers sped up and quickly left the freeway onto a side road, hoping to lose their tails.
However, due to recent rains, the roads were extremely muddy and the van soon got stuck for good. Wasting no time, the kidnappers left Schanda behind and decided to flee on foot. Unfortunately, Deputy Chad Martin was unable to capture the kidnappers, but he managed to save Schanda and bring her back to safety. Additionally, the following day, police found the bodies of the kidnappers in the Intracoastal Waterway in Port Allen and determined that they had drowned while trying to escape.
Where is Schanda Handley now?
Even though Schanda was safely back home, she believed her ex-husband, Michael Handley, was responsible for planning the crime. Along with learning of her rocky relationship with Michael, police soon discovered the van was rented in Michael’s name. They even traced the handcuffs used in the abduction to Schanda’s husband, although he was nowhere to be found. Still, Michael couldn’t stay out of jail for long, as he was captured a few days later.
Following the arrest, Michael was charged with multiple counts of kidnapping and a single count of conspiracy to commit second degree murder. Although there wasn’t much evidence against him, Schanda soon came across video footage that recorded Michael plotting the kidnapping. The video even identified the kidnappers as Sylvester Bracey and Arsenio Haynes and was key evidence in Michael’s trial. In 2021, Michael accepted a plea deal and did not contest two counts of second-degree kidnapping as well as one count of attempted second-degree kidnapping, which earned him a 35-year prison sentence. .
As of now, Schanda appears to have returned to her home in Lafayette, Louisiana and feels much safer with her husband in prison. From the looks of it, she’s built a wonderful life surrounded by loved ones and shares a special relationship with her daughter, Isabella. However, even though Schanda seems to be living the perfect life, she claims she is scared of the day her ex-husband gets out of prison and has mentioned that she will no longer feel free when that happens.
Read more: Where is Schanda’s husband, Michael Handley, now?