NATCHITOCHES PARISH, La. (NPSO) - Louisiana State Police Crime Lab DNA analysis confirms the remains found in a wooded area off of Johnson Road near Natchitoches on July 18, 2019, were those of Donnie E. Collins Jr., 44, of Natchitoches, according to Natchitoches Parish Deputy Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton.
Donnie Collins | Photo Source: NPSO
On December 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 to investigate the crash.
On December 11, 2018, Collins' family members contacted NPSO to report him missing. They told deputies that they hadn’t seen or heard from Collins since that time.
His cell phone and wallet were reportedly found in the vehicle.
Deputies checked with hospitals in the area.
Collins was entered in the National Crime Information Center as a missing person, meaning that if any law enforcement officer came across or ran his name through the NCIC database, a message would be given, alerting them that he was a missing person.
On December 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.
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 looking for any clues or evidence that could aid them in the search for Collins.
On July 18, 2019, loggers working in a wooded area off of Johnson Chute Road contacted NPSO in reference to finding possible human remains in a thicket.
The remains were confirmed to be human and believed to be in the area for several months, according to Natchitoches Parish Asst. Coroner Steven Clanton.
The remains were carefully 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 on Sept. 13 and notified the family of the results.
The cause of death has been listed as undetermined at this time, according to Clanton.
Copyright 2019 NPSO. All rights reserved.