published Friday, April 12th, 2013

No arrest yet in man's slaying

Mystery clouds the death of a Trion, Ga., man found a couple of miles across the state line at an Alabama home, and injuries to his brother, who was found alive with a cut on his neck in East Ridge.

But Cherokee County, Ala., Sheriff Jeff Shaver said investigators, who have been working with multiple state agencies, will release an update on the case today. Shaver wouldn't say if that update will involve an announcement of an arrest.

It's been 10 days since 52-year-old Vinson Hughes was found dead at a house on County Road 103 in Cherokee County. Police ruled Hughes' death a homicide.

But hours before Hughes was discovered, one of his three brothers, Raymond, was found outside a house in East Ridge, bloody and disoriented.

An East Ridge police report shows that a woman called 911 to report a man was standing on her driveway and appeared intoxicated. The report states that when police arrived they found Raymond Hughes, bloody with a large cut on his neck and red stains on his T-shirt and jeans.

He told police he had been chased by some gang members and he had to jump out of his truck and run into the woods to escape. But the report said he couldn't explain how he had been injured or where it had happened.

Police didn't find any trace of blood on Raymond Hughes' truck. But investigators discovered that a towing truck had found the truck abandoned at the end of Dunlap Avenue, with the keys still inside. Detectives still couldn't find any sign of a struggle or blood spots, the report said.

Shaver won't say if investigators have interviewed Raymond Hughes, who was taken to Erlanger hospital for treatment and has been released.

East Ridge Cpl. Robert Wade said the Alabama sheriff's office did contact the police station, and they told officers Hughes was at Erlanger, but they haven't had any more involvement with the case.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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