Man’s fiancé speaks out after death, asking for more answers

Published: Sep. 26, 2023 at 6:42 PM CDT
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CHEROKEE VILLAGE, Ark. (KAIT) - A man’s death in Sharp County has raised eyebrows across the area.

38-year-old Derek Hughes went missing on May 13. Three days later, his body was found in Lake Cherokee.

In July, the Cherokee Village Police Department said Hughes’ death was an “accidental drowning,” but his fiance says that isn’t true.

“There’s too many doubts and unanswered questions pertaining to his death,” Derek’s Fiance, Silvia Hurd, said.

Hurd has worked to gather information from police and other sources surrounding the night Hughes died.

After reviewing security camera footage from the local bar where he was last seen before he died, she doesn’t believe his death was anything close to accidental.

“My firm conviction is that it wasn’t a suicide. He kept several journals, and in one of them that I found a few months before he died, he talked about struggling with alcohol and other things, but he talked about turning his life around,” Hurd said.

Rumors surrounding Hughes’ death have spread far and wide. One popular rumor incriminated a local man in his death, but Hurd is saying it isn’t true.

“Anyone who still accuses him, please stop the rumors. Even better, help correct them. He’s innocent. He hasn’t done anything,” Hurd explained.

The fiance and Hughes’ family beg anyone with information on the case to come forward.

“If you know something, I plead with you to come forward to the Cherokee Village Police Department. For Derek and I, his family in Mississippi, his poor mother, just clear your conscience. The truth will be revealed eventually,” Hurd added.

The Cherokee Village Police Department can be reached at 870-257-5225.