Missing Conway man found in ditch drowned, coroner says

Missing Conway man found in ditch drowned, coroner says
Hudgins's body was found Thursday afternoon in a ditch near Conway
Hudgins's body was found Thursday afternoon in a ditch near Conway

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The body of a missing Conway man has been found. The body of Robbie Hudgins, 27, was found Thursday in a ditch on the corner of Juniper Bay Road and Dunn Shortcut Road, according to the Horry County Police Department. The coroner says Hudgins drowned.

An autopsy performed Friday morning determined the cause of death was drowning, according to Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. At this time, there is no determination whether Hudgins's death was an accident of foul play. There were no signs of trauma, and no indication that Hudgins was hit by a vehicle.

A funeral service for Hudgins has been scheduled at 3 p.m. Sunday at Pleasant Baptist Church, located on Highway 905, according to family members.

Hudgins' mother, Tracy Peele, said she saw Hudgins for the last time Saturday, March 21. She said Hudgins left on Saturday night when he went for a walk.

"He would often walk around the block at night, but never where he didn't come back and that bothers me," Peele told WMBF News in an interview Monday.

A tip led police to Wendy's fast-food restaurant in Aynor earlier this week.

The tip came in from employees that Hudgins had walked into the Wendy's off Highway 501 around 7:30 p.m. Sunday -- nearly 24 hours since his family had seen him last.

Thursday, state and local agencies, including the Horry County Solicitor's Office, the Horry County Police Department,  the Horry County Police Department Crime Scene Unit, South Carolina Highway Patrol, and the MAIT, accident reconstruction team responded to the scene and closed Dunn Shortcut Road to investigate.

Lt. Chip Squires with the Horry County Police Department explained both Horry County Police and South Carolina Highway Patrol are investigating Hudgins's death because it is unclear whether or not he was hit by a car, or placed in the ditch.

Hudgins's body was found in a two-foot ditch, according to Horry County Coroner, Robert Edge. He said the ditch was extremely overgrown, and the body was hard to see.

"Unless you were walking by and really looked at it one moment, you probably wouldn't see him, especially if you weren't looking for him," Edge said.

"It's probably got four to five, maybe six inches of water max, in it. Very shallow and not very wide but wide enough for a body to lay into it or be laid into it," Edge added. Hudgins was found on his back in the ditch, and it is believed he had been submerged there at some point.

Edge explained responding officers seemed to know the body was that of Robert Hudgins.

"His father is a county policeman, and some of the officers knew the young lad, they identified him for us too. That was him, and I think they had an idea when they got here that it was going to be him," Edge said.

"It's just hard to tell right now, you know he doesn't show signs of a lot of visible trouble, like being hit by a car, yet we don't know why he's in there," Edge said.

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