Community concerned after police find body in lake

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 6:14 PM CDT
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CHEROKEE VILLAGE, Ark. (KAIT) - A community is on edge after a body was found in a lake on Tuesday afternoon.

Cherokee Village Police say 35-year-old Derek Hughs was found dead Tuesday in Lake Cherokee.

The release said police were still conducting interviews to determine more details.

Without a cause of death, many in the Cherokee Village area are on edge.

“I’ve lived in this community ever since I left Jonesboro from college in 1996,” said Cherokee Village Resident Jeremy Rowland. “It is concerning because things like that just don’t happen in Cherokee Village and the Sharp County area. It hasn’t happened in a very long time.”

Rowland said he trusts the police department to close this investigation.

Hughs’ girlfriend, Tesha Hooks, spoke to K8 News about what happened before her boyfriend’s death.

Hughs and Hooks spent most of Saturday evening together, stopping at the Copper Feather Bar and Grill in Cherokee Village.

Hooks left earlier than Hughs and said he was acting normal.

Then when the couple met up 15-20 minutes later, his entire attitude had changed.

“He just really wasn’t responsive like he usually is. He was pretty slow and dragged out. That was around 9-10 on Saturday night, and that was the last time I had seen him,” Hooks explained.

Hooks is left wanting answers about what happened but is confident he didn’t purposely cause his death.

“It’s definitely not suicide. He had no reason. He was happy. He had things planned for the future.” she explained. “He never showed signs of depression or anything that would indicate any kind of suicide at all.”

Until police reveal more details, it’s a waiting game for the family and friends of Derek Hughs, but all parties are hoping justice prevails.

“It’s my hopes and my prayers that this is being taken seriously and the people that are involved will be caught, and justice will be served for him.”

Hughs’ body was sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an official cause of death.

Sharp County Sheriff’s Office and the Sharp County Coroner’s Office are assisting in the investigation.