Body found, believed to be kidnapping victim Tony Procell - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Body found, believed to be kidnapping victim Tony Procell

Posted: Updated: Sep 8, 2013 09:18 PM
Tony Procell, 25 (Source: Jonothon Mitchell) Tony Procell, 25 (Source: Jonothon Mitchell)
Arrested: Robert Barthelemy, 33 (Source: DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office) Arrested: Robert Barthelemy, 33 (Source: DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office)
SABINE PARISH, LA (KSLA) -

Sabine Parish authorities believe the body of Tony Procell has been found.

Joe Dewil with the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office says a body was found Sunday afternoon in a shallow grave in an area that they had been looking for Procell, near a rural road off of Hwy 156 in Winn Parish, not far from the Natchitoches Parish line.

A private citizen reportedly found something that did not look right and called it in to the Natchitoches Sheriff's Office.  They called Sabine who then called the Winn Sheriff's Office.  Deputies were dispatched to the scene and determined there was a probable crime scene.  

Cadaver dogs from Red River Parish were called in and the dogs alerted on the location of the body.  It was found near the end of Sand Point Road, about 80 feet into the woods near the banks of Saline lake.

Crime scene investigators from Caddo Parish were called to help process the evidence at the scene.

Some members of Procell's family were at the site Sunday evening but left when authorities would not allow them down to where the body was found.

It has not been positively identified, but Dewil says they are confident it is Procell. The body is being brought to Caddo Parish for an autopsy.

Procell, 25, had been missing since Tuesday, after he is believed to have been kidnapped at gunpoint by Natchitoches police officer Robert Barthelemy.

Barthelemy, 34, remains in custody at the Sabine Parish Detention Center, charged with aggravated kidnapping and home invasion.

Sabine Parish District Attorney Don Burkett says Barthelemy is expected to be charged with 1st degree murder on Monday.

Even though the body was found in the Kisatchie National Forest land, which would place it in the jurisdiction of federal authorities, it has been agreed that the Sabine Parish Sheriff's Office will assume jurisdiction in this case, Burkett said. 

Crews had searched another area in the Kisatchie National Forest where Barthelemy allegedly told authorities he dropped Procell off to walk on the day of his disappearance. Finding no sign of Procell there, the search was widened to general areas in Sabine, DeSoto and Natchitoches parishes in the following days.

On Friday and Saturday, the search focused on a wooded area of LA 1226, just outside of Clarence in Natchitoches Parish.

On Sunday, Procell's family confirmed that they had asked the non-profit search and rescue organization Texas EquuSearch to assist. They had been set to meet with sheriff's officials on Monday morning.

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