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Kentucky State Police is investigating the death of a Hodgenville man after county employees discovered his body in a pond in front of the LaRue County maintenance building.
James Everett Martin, 43, was found Thursday morning floating in a pond in front of the South Lincoln Boulevard maintenance building, which is across the street from LaRue County Middle School and LaRue County High School.
According to state police, Martin had been missing since Saturday and was listed as a missing person.
Clyde Veirs, supervisor of the LaRue County Road Department, said he sent workers to set up road signs Thursday. As the men were leaving the gate onto South Lincoln Boulevard, they noticed what appeared to be a body.
The maintenance workers notified Veirs, who said he was shocked but hesitant. Because it’s so close to Halloween, he was unsure if it was a body or a doll someone crafted as a practical joke.
“I said, ‘I don’t know if it’s real or if it’s a dummy,’” Veirs said. “It sure looked real to me.”
The LaRue County Sheriff’s Office called KSP Post 4 around 9 a.m. State troopers and LaRue County Coroner Todd Skaggs responded, according to a news release.
With shovels for paddles, law enforcement officers and the coroner used a small boat to retrieve the body from the water before Skaggs transported it to the Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville for an autopsy.
KSP Sgt. Kevin Johnson said troopers were conducting a preliminary investigation Thursday at the scene. Asked if foul play was suspected, Johnson said cause of death will have to be determined by an autopsy report.
According to the police statement, the investigation will be updated when the Medical Examiner’s Office releases its preliminary report.
Hodgenville Mayor Terry Cruse said he believed Martin lived with his mother in the White City area, and he sometimes was known by the nickname “Joe Dirt.”
According to the mayor, Martin could be seen “just about every night” riding his bicycle around Hodgenville.
Norman Chaffins, spokesman for KSP Post 4, said Martin’s bicycle was not found. State police believe it was “disabled” and Martin was on foot.
This is the second notable death in less than two weeks to touch Hodgenville. On Sept. 16, Hodgenville Police Officer Mark A. Taulbee died after wrecking his cruiser during a pursuit.
Cruse, who served as deputy chief of the LaRue County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years, said he has lived in Hodgenville all his life and considers it a “quiet community.”
“I was thinking myself we end up in the news a lot more than other communities,” the mayor said.
Sarah Bennettcan be reached at (270) 505-1750 or email@example.com.