Six days after he went missing after leaving home for his secular job at Kinder Morgan on Aug. 2, Phillip Loveday, senior pastor at Faith Christian Center in Freer, Texas, was found dead inside a company vehicle police announced Tuesday night. He was 47.
In a statement shared on their Facebook page, the Corpus Christi Police Department said Loveday’s company vehicle was found by officers from the Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 2:55 p.m. Tuesday off county road 2444 in Nueces County.
“A body was located inside of the vehicle. At this time we are waiting on the findings from the medical examiner’s office to complete their investigation. This is still an active investigation,” the statement said.
A few hours after the police shared their statement, another Facebook page called Finding Phillip Loveday, which was established by Faith Christian Center to attract volunteers to help find their pastor, said they would be releasing a statement but needed to support their pastor’s family.
“We will be updating shortly. Please give us time to be with the family,” the church family said.
Authorities told 3 News that Loveday, who died of a gunshot wound, appeared to have been dead for a while when he was found. They have ruled out foul play.
Kleberg County deputy David Farias told the news outlet that he discovered the truck after a search of the brushy area near the South Texas Botanical Gardens on his way to work.
“We had some basic discussions on looking for him and what we could do starting from the home. I left today headed to work and first thing I did was check the creek area Oso Creek,” Farias said. “I was gonna go on to County Road 43 and before I got there, I noticed the barn and it’s all grown over, there’s a lot of brush there so I said let me take this off my list and clear it. I drove up halfway up the driveway and saw there was a vehicle and with the binoculars I was able to confirm it was Mr. Loveday’s truck.”
Farias said he called the Corpus Christi Police Department and other law enforcement officials immediately and they were able to determine that it was Loveday’s body that was found inside the truck.
“Deputies responded to the scene, CCPD, Nueces County, Texas Rangers all responded, found a deceased male in the vehicle, we have determined the deceased male is Mr. Phillip Loveday,” Chief Deputy David Cook with the Nueces County Sheriff’s Office said.
Loveday left his home for work around 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 2, the Corpus Christi Police Department said in a previous statement. His wife, Meléa Loveday, told police that she became concerned after “she received a phone call that he did not show up for work or church” where he was expected to preach that day.
Loveday’s family told KRIS 6 that he appeared to have forgotten his phone at home the day he went missing but they initially didn’t think anything of it because he would always find a way to contact them during the day. This time, however, he did not.
“He would definitely always just answer back, so that was, right off the bat, very suspicious,” Loveday’s oldest daughter, Kayleigh Purnell, told KRIS 6. “It was just, ‘Oh why didn’t he answer?’ That never ever happens.’”
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