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Convicted MH child rapist found dead at state park

11-9-2014 Arkansas:

The Baxter Bulletin has confirmed that the man's body found near Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Roland on Saturday was that of 44-year-old Mountain Home native Thomas James Lovelady.

Lovelady — who was a member of the Class of 1989 at Mountain Home High School — was the subject of a highly publicized child rape case in the 1990s, during which he was convicted in Baxter County Circuit Court of raping his 7-year-old stepdaughter.

A registered Level 3 sex offender, Lovelady was living in Little Rock at the time of his death, according to an address listed on the Arkansas Crime Information Center sex offender database.

Little Rock television station KLRT first reported that two women walking along a highway in the area of the state park discovered the body around 7 a.m. Saturday and contacted authorities. State police investigators spent most of the morning at the scene in western Pulaski County collecting evidence.

Lovelady was the subject of a missing person report filed with Little Rock Police on Friday.

His body has been transported to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory where an autopsy will be conducted this week to confirm a manner and cause of death.

Lovelady, 25 at the time, was found guilty by a jury of engaging in sexual activity with a child on Sept. 14, 1995, and eventually sentenced to 40 years by Circuit Judge Robert McCorkindale. Lovelady, under sentencing guidelines, spent a mandatory 10 years in state prison before receiving parole.

It was a sordid trial concerning testimony, with Lovelady admitting there twice had been sexual activity between him and the girl — but he contended the stepdaughter initiated it.

In testimony by the girl, who was 8 at the time of the trial, she brought to light six instances since the age of 4 in which she said Lovelady performed sexual acts on her.

Lovelady did appeal his conviction to the Supreme Court of Arkansas, but that appeal was denied following an opinion by high court justices released on Oct. 7, 1996.

His wife asks for help with final expenses.

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