‘I’ve been hurt before but nothing like this’, says father of man found buried in woods

Daniel was reported missing Tuesday (May 5), and his body was found buried off Auction Barn Road days later on Sunday (May 7).
Published: May. 17, 2023 at 4:12 PM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2023 at 5:23 PM CDT
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MINDEN, La. (KSLA) - The Merrit family is mourning the loss of 26-year-old Daniel Merrit. The family is keeping faith in hopes that they will be able to receive justice and find closure.

James Merritt, a heartbroken father, is left searching for answers.

“I’ve been hurt before, but nothing like this you know. I mean we’re all just, stomachs just tore up, over the last week; it’s just brutal. You know, you never think anything like this is going to happen to you and then it does. It’s quite a shock,” James Merritt said.

Daniel Merritt's body was discovered by family off Auction Barn Rd.
Daniel Merritt's body was discovered by family off Auction Barn Rd.(KSLA)

Daniel was reported missing Tuesday (May 5). While searching for him, his body was discovered by relatives on Sunday (May 7). He had been buried off Auction Barn Road.

James Merrit is speaking about grief, following the loss of his son, 26-year-old Daniel Merritt.

The Minden Police Department is searching for Cedric Stephens who is accused of Daniel’s murder. James says he’s trying to stay positive during this difficult time.

WANTED: Cedric Stephens
WANTED: Cedric Stephens(Webster Parish Journal)

“We’re miserable you know but unfortunately, life doesn’t stop for you to mourn. We have to keep going; hopefully the community will come together and they’re giving tips left and right. Hope eventually they’ll get this guy, whether he was right or wrong or in it or not, they have to do the investigation,” James said.

U.S. Marshals and Minden police are still searching for Stephens. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should contact 911 immediately.