Disclaimer: All persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – An eight-month investigation has led to the arrest of a Natchitoches man in connection to the March 2023 murder of a Shreveport businessman.

According to the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office, 35-year-old Patrick D. Howard was arrested Monday evening after the eight-month-long investigation.

Deputies responded to a Campti home on March 14 to find 71-year-old Mark L. Hailey, owner of Fat Daddy’s Crawfish, deceased.

Hailey’s nephew told deputies that he went to check on his uncle and found the door breached and Hailey unresponsive on the floor.

It was determined Hailey died at the scene from blunt and sharp force trauma and the case began to be investigated as a homicide.

Investigators also discovered Hailey’s pickup truck was missing from the driveway.

The following day, deputies were called to a suspicious abandoned vehicle on Tauzin Island Road.

Deputies arrived and discovered the abandoned vehicle to be the victim’s pickup truck. The vehicle was processed for evidence.

Detectives say during the eight-month investigation, they executed at least twelve search warrants, analyzed forensic evidence, followed up on tips provided to Natchitoches Crime Stoppers, and interviewed family and friends.

Howard was booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where he faces the charge of principal to 1st degree murder. He currently remains without bond.