On Friday, September 18, 2015 the Natchitoches Police Department (NPD) responded to the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church located at 911 Fifth St. in reference to a burglary which had occurred during the previous night. Officials at St. Anthony’s reported the theft of multiple religious ceremonial artifacts along with a religious relic. The items stolen had an estimated value greater than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00).
In addition, on Sunday, September 20, 2015 the Natchitoches Police Department responded to the Immaculate Conception Church located at 145 Church St. in reference to a reported theft. Officials at the Immaculate Conception Church reported the theft of one of church’s security cameras.
As a result of the reported burglary and theft the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division was notified and began carrying out investigations into both incidents. Investigators were able to obtain video footage of the person responsible for stealing the security camera from the Immaculate Conception Church. The suspect was later identified by investigators as Layna Jones.
Investigators also received tips from the public which implicated multiple suspects along with Layna Jones as being involved in the burglary of the St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. On Wednesday, September 23, 2015, investigators obtained warrants for the arrest of Layna Jones, 42 year old, white, female residing at 920 Second St., Natchitoches, LA who was as located and arrested on one count of LA R.S. 14:67 Theft and one count of LA R.S. 14:62.6 Simple Burglary of a Religious Building. Also arrested was Daniel Ryder, 42 year old, white, male, no current address, on one count of LA R.S. 14:62.6 Simple Burglary of a Religious Building. Both Jones and Ryder were transported to the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center where they await bonds. Furthermore, as a result of the arrests investigators were able to recover most of the reported artifacts along with the stolen religious relic.
The Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division has also secured a warrant for the immediate apprehension and arrest of Jess Meshell, 26 year old, white, male residing at 920 Second St., Natchitoches, LA. Meshell is being sought on one count of LA R.S. 14:62.6 Simple Burglary of a Religious Building.
Investigators stated that they’re expecting to make more arrests in reference to these incidents and they’re encouraging anyone with knowledge of where additional stolen items may be located or anyone with knowledge of the whereabouts of Jess Meshell to immediately contact the Natchitoches Police Department at (318) 352-8101 or they may contact Investigator John Greely or Investigator William Connell of the Natchitoches Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at (318) 238-3911. All calls shall be kept confidential
Asst. Chief Cary Hargrove would like to give a very special thanks to all of the citizens who came forward providing information in regards to both investigations and he added that investigators won’t rest until all of the artifacts stolen are returned and all suspects involved are arrested.
Authorized for Release By: Asst. Chief Cary Hargrove