FORREST CITY, Ark. — A 51-year-old man was found severely beaten and left for dead and his travel companion is in the St. Francis County jail after a witness reported seeing the man bound with electrical wire and wrapped up, lying in a gas station parking lot.
Joshua Hatley, 42, was booked into jail Friday on $200,000 bond and charged with attempted murder and kidnapping.
His alleged victim is in a hospital ICU but is able to speak, police said.
According to Forrest City Police, Hatley and the victim were at the Super 8 motel in Forrest City early Friday morning. Surveillance video showed them getting in Hatley’s truck and leaving, but something happened between them and the victim was severely beaten.
A few hours later Hatley was seen on video buying breakfast food at a gas station in the small town of Parkin, in Cross County. That’s about 30 minutes from Forrest City. A witness came into the gas station around 5 or 6 a.m. and told people inside that a man had fallen out of a truck in the parking lot, police said. The witness said he believed the man might’ve been drunk.
The witness said Hatley acknowledged the man was with him and asked him to help him get the man back in the truck. The witness told Hatley he had to get to work, but Hatley bought him some things at the gas station in exchange for his help, police said.
The witness said he agreed to help, but then realized that the man laying in the parking lot had been severely beaten, bound at hands and feet with electrical wires and zip ties and wrapped in a shower curtain and blanket, police said.
The witness ran away and called 911 to report what he’d seen. Hatley drove off, police said.
Hours later, a deputy was on a traffic stop on Holiday Drive in Forrest City when a witness stopped and said there was a body in some nearby woods.
The deputy investigated and found the victim, blocks from a hospital. At first he thought the man was dead, but he had a pulse, police said.
A lieutenant with the police department said they found Hatley back at the Super 8. He told officers he knew of the victim but hadn’t seen him for a while.
Police said they found significant amount of blood in the cab of Hatley’s truck. They said Hatley is not speaking with them and has an attorney out of Jonesboro.
Police don’t yet know of a motive.