Valley man found dead near LaFayette city lake

Published 10:07 am Wednesday, October 4, 2023

LaFAYETTE — The body of a Valley man was found near the LaFayette city lake at approximately 6:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday. It’s thought that Melvin Duke, 72, was by himself on a fishing trip when he died of natural causes.

Duke had been last seen on Thursday and was reported missing the following day.

“He lived in Shawmut and was one of my constituents,” Council Member Jm Clark told The Valley Times-News. “He was a good man, and a good friend. When I found out he was missing, I went to his favorite fishing spots but found no trace of him. He loved to fish, and I thought he may have gone off somewhere to do that and ran into some kind of trouble.”

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Sgt. Dustin Smith of the sheriff’s office told The Valley Times-News that Duke’s abandoned truck had been found Sunday afternoon off County Road 48 near the city lake. Deputies investigating the incident found where someone had been cutting a trail from the road to the lake and followed it. They found Duke’s body about 40 yards away. He had a pole saw in his hand and had apparently been cutting a walking trail to the lake.

Deputy Coroner Levi Richardson was contacted, came to the scene and declared Duke deceased.