Crime & Courts

Man’s body found where Union County jogger is missing

Union County authorities say the medical examiner’s office could answer some key questions in the death of a man whose body was found behind a church Monday evening.

The body was found not far from the home of James Martin Hudspeth, 51, who went jogging Monday morning and did not return home.

Union County Sheriff Eddie Cathey said deputies are handling the case as if it might be a murder but added, “It has not been classified as a murder.”

The series of events took place in the small town of Lake Park, which is between Independence Boulevard and Secrest Short Cut Road in western Union County.

Family members said Hudspeth went jogging Monday morning without his wallet and cell phone, but he didn’t return. Hudspeth apparently jogged on a paved trail along Creft Circle, an oval road which crosses Faith Church Road. The trail is popular with joggers and walkers in Lake Park, a planned community built in the 1990s.

Sheriff’s deputies entered the search Monday afternoon, and a body was discovered about 6:30 p.m. behind Faith United Methodist Church. That church is on Faith Church Road at Creft Circle.

Cathey and deputies did not say the body was that of Hudspeth. The sheriff said authorities are awaiting word from the medical examiner’s office on the identity of the victim and the cause of death.

Deputies shut off access to church property Monday evening and early Tuesday morning as they searched for possible clues.

One man out walking his dog before daylight Tuesday said people in Lake Park were upset about the death.

“This is a quiet community,” the man said. “There was some conjecture last evening that the death was not an act of violence, but until we hear the final word, we’ll be on edge.”

Lyttle: 704-358-6107;