UPDATED: Valley man arrested for murder after man found in well

Published 1:36 pm Monday, December 30, 2019

A 72-year-old man was found dead in a well in Beulah and a Valley man has been charged with murder, according to a press release from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was identified as James Edmund Clarke, and he’d been missing since Dec. 19, according to the press release. The Lee County Sheriff’s Department was serving a search warrant Sunday night at a residence in the 9000 block off Lee County Road 279 in reference to the missing man, but in the process of initiating the warrant they located Clarke’s body in a well at the residence.

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Hubert Timothy Sprayberry, 58, of Valley, was charged with murder, according to the press release. A post mortem examination conducted by the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Monday morning revealed stabbing and gunshot wounds to Clarke’s body.

Clarke had not been seen for approximately three weeks prior to a neighbor filing a missing person’s report, according to the sheriff’s office.

It took about two and a half hours to recover the body from the well, according to a press release from Lee County Coroner Bill Harris.

Opelika Fire and Rescue, Beulah Fire and Rescue, Lee County EMA and the Tallapoosa County Rescue Squad assisted in the recovery of the victim. The incident remains under investigation by the Lee County Coroner’s Office, Lee County District Attorney’s office and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Lee County Sheriff’s Office at (334) 749-5651, Lee County Crime Stoppers at (888) 522-7847, or the Lee County Coroner Secret Witness line at (334) 742-4339.