Natchitoches man arrested in connection with murder of Fat Daddy’s Crawfish owner

An eight-month investigation by Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Detectives has led to the arrest of a Natchitoches man in connection with the March 2023 murder of Natchitoches Parish resident and Shreveport businessman Mark L. Hailey of Campti according to Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Stuart Wright.

Hailey was the prior owner of Fat Daddy’s Crawfish in Natchitoches and owner of Fat Daddy’s Crawfish in Shreveport.

Detectives say during the eight-month investigation, they submitted evidence to the Northwest Crime Lab, executed at least twelve search warrants, analyzed forensic evidence, followed up on tips provided to Natchitoches Crime Stoppers and interviewed family and friends which eventually led to sufficient evidence and probable cause to obtain a criminal arrest warrant signed by a 10th Judicial District Judge for the arrest of Patrick D. Howard, 35, of Natchitoches for Principle to 1st Degree Murder.

Detectives learned during the investigation that Howard traveled in and out of state prior to and following the murder.

On Monday evening, November 6, 2023, at approximately 9:00pm, Sheriff’s Detectives, Agents assigned to the Natchitoches Multi-Jurisdictional Drug Task Force and Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Operations Bureau executed a search warrant at a residence in the 100 block of Vienna Parkway near Natchitoches, La.

Detectives arrested Howard at the residence without incident.

Patrick D. Howard, 35, of Natchitoches was transported and booked into the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center charged with Principal to 1st Degree Murder where he currently remains without bond.

Due to the sensitivity of the ongoing and active investigation, detectives are not releasing any additional information at this time.

Sheriff Wright stated we are pleased that an arrest has been made in the senseless murder of Mr. Hailey. Our detectives worked tirelessly from the beginning on this case, although the case remains active and ongoing we are continuing to follow-up on leads as we receive them.

The investigative process which included submitting numerous pieces of evidence to the crime lab, NPSO High Tech Crime Unit reviewing forensic evidence, securing search warrants, and speaking to family, friends, and other sources took some time.”

Sheriff Wright also thanks Natchitoches Crime Stoppers, Northwest La. Crime Lab and other sources that have assisted investigators during this ongoing investigation.

The investigation began on Tuesday evening, March 14, 2023 at approximately 11:06pm, Deputies assigned to the NPSO Patrol Operations Bureau responded to NATCOM 911 Center reports of an unresponsive male lying on the floor of his residence in the 100 block of Jim Bell Road, north of Campti, La.

Deputies arrived on scene at approximately 11:12pm.

While on scene, deputies made contact with a relative that stated he went to the residence to check on his uncle. Soon afterwards, he observed the front door breached and observed his Uncle lying on the floor unresponsive.

Deputies entered residence discovering a deceased male lying on the floor identified as 71-year-old Mark L. Hailey, of Campti, La.Detectives assigned to the NPSO Criminal Investigations Bureau and the Natchitoches Parish Coroner’s Office were summoned and responded to the scene.Deputies say while speaking with the relative they learned Mr. Hailey’s 2015 Ford F-350 pickup truck, maroon in color was missing from the residence.

NATCOM 911 Center issued a BOLO for the vehicle.

Natchitoches Parish Coroner Steven Clanton pronounced Hailey dead at the scene from apparent blunt and sharp force trauma.

The body was transported to a Shreveport Forensic Pathologist Office for an autopsy to determine the matter and cause of death.

Detectives traveled to Shreveport to attend the autopsy.

The case was investigated as a homicide.

Detectives brought in special lighting equipment to assist them while they photographed, and processed the crime scene throughout the night.

On Wednesday morning, March 15, shortly after 7:30am, NATCOM 911 Center received a call of a suspicious vehicle being abandoned on Tauzin Island Road in the Grand Ecore area near Natchitoches.

Deputies responded and discovered the abandoned vehicle to be the victim’s 2015 Ford F-350 truck.

NPSO Detectives requested assistance from the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Unit.

Detectives along with 3 Red River Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Technicians processed the vehicle for evidence.

The vehicle was towed and secured at an undisclosed storage facility for further processing.

A team of detectives worked throughout the day interviewing family and friends of Mr. Hailey in an effort to gather additional facts or other information to assist in the investigation.

Detectives learned Mr. Hailey was the owner of Fat Daddy’s Crawfish in Shreveport and at one time owned Fat Daddy’s Crawfish on Texas Street in Natchitoches.

In March, Sheriff Wright stated “our detectives in conjunction with assistance from the Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office and Northwest La. Crime Lab are working tirelessly in an effort to identify the person or persons responsible for this senseless crime of violence.

If you have any information, please contact the NPSO Criminal Investigations Division at 318-357-7830 or you can also report a tip anonymously by downloading the P3 Tips app on your smart phone or by calling Natchitoches Crime Stoppers at (318) 238-2388.

All tips remain confidential and the caller can receive a cash reward up to $2,500 for the arrest of an offender.

Crime Stoppers is a private non-profit organization it is not a law enforcement agency.