Arrests Made in Louisiana Homicide Investigation Into Body Discovered in Ditch on LA 1

By Calcasieu Staff
Published April 26, 2023

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Arrests Made in Louisiana Homicide Investigation Into Body Discovered in Ditch on LA 1

Rapides Parish, Louisiana – On April 25, 2023, the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office reported that detectives have made two arrests in the LA Highway 1 North homicide investigation from April 20.

At about 10:36 a.m. on April 20, 2023, Patrol Deputies responded to the 6000 block of LA Highway 1 North in relation to a report of a body discovered in the ditch by a LA DOTD mowing crew. Deputies, detectives, and crime scene investigators arrived and started their investigation.
Rochaune L. Prenell, 42, of Alexandria, Louisiana, has been identified as the decedent victim. The cause of death appears to be gunshot wounds, according to authorities, but an autopsy report is still awaiting.

Detectives indicated that they were able to identify Donald Ray Sias, Jr., 32, of Alexandria, Louisiana, as a person of interest in the homicide as their investigation went into late Thursday night and the early hours of Friday morning. Investigators were reportedly able to gather enough probable cause for a search warrant at a residence in the 1700 block of Kilkenny Lane in Alexandria as a result of their investigation. Sias, Jr. was apprehended without incident and placed under arrest for contempt of non-support and felon in possession of a firearm. On those counts, Sias, Jr. was later placed in the Rapides Parish Detention Center.

Investigators were reportedly able to identify Otha Lee Tatum, Sr. as a second suspect in the homicide case as a result of their ongoing investigation. Tatum, Sr. was apprehended and booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on obstruction of justice and criminal conspiracy charges on April 24, 2023.

Sias, Jr., who had remained in jail, was re-arrested and re-booked for one count of carjacking, one count 2nd Degree Murder, one count of criminal conspiracy, and one count of obstruction of justice. Both Sias, Jr. and Tatum, Sr. remains in jail at the time of this release.

The bond for Sias, Jr. has been set at $1,226,000.00 and the bond for Tatum Sr. has been set at $125,000.00.

Detectives indicated that this is still an active and ongoing investigation and anyone with information on this case is asked to contact Detective Jason Hagan at 318-473-6727, Crime Stoppers at 318-443-7867, or local law enforcement.

Authorities also indicated that the Crime Stoppers P3 Tipster app may also be downloaded to leave tips and get a claim number for reward.

An arrest is an indication that probable cause exists to believe the subject was involved in the offense alleged. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Related: Authorities Suspect Homicide After Body Found in Louisiana on LA 1 North