Louisiana State Police Crime Lab DNA analysis confirms the remains found in a wooded area off Johnson Chute Road near Natchitoches July 18 were that of Donnie E. Collins Jr., 44, of Natchitoches according to Natchitoches Parish Deputy Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton.
On Dec. 7, 2018, Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Deputies and Louisiana State Police responded to a single-vehicle crash on La. Hwy 1 near Johnson Chute Road involving a white 2002 Toyota pickup truck owned by Collins, however, he was not at the scene when law enforcement arrived.
On Dec. 11, family members contacted the NPSO reporting Collins missing. His cell phone and wallet were reportedly found in the vehicle. Collins was entered in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as a missing person so if any law enforcement officer ran his name through the NCIC database, a message would flag him as a missing person.
On Dec. 12, Sheriff Victor Jones, deputies, criminal investigators and Natchitoches Parish Fire District #7 returned to the crash scene with all terrain vehicles to check the area near and around the crash scene. Deputies returned to the area on two other occasions with assistance from the Louisiana Department of Probation & Parole-Natchitoches District Office Agents and local inmates to search the area by air, ground and water.
On Thursday, July 18 at approximately 2:29 p.m., loggers working in an area off Johnson Chute Road contacted the NPSO reported finding possible human remains in a thicket. NPSO deputies and Clanton responded. The remains were confirmed to be human and believed to be in the area for several months according to Clanton. The remains were collected and taken to the LSU FACES Lab in Baton Rouge for DNA testing.
NPSO officially received the DNA comparison results from the LSU FACES Lab Sept. 13 and notified the family of the results. The cause of death has been listed as undetermined at this time according to Clanton.
The NPSO, Natchitoches Times and others extend sympathy to the Collins family.