The search for a missing South Texas pastor has ended in tragedy.
Authorities say that Phillip Loveday was located deceased in a vehicle on an abandoned farm in the Corpus Christi region on Tuesday, August 8, 2023.
Loveday had been reported on Tuesday, August 2, after the bi-vocational pastor failed to show up at his secular job and church. His wife, Melea, had become concerned when he failed to arrive at either place and she contacted authorities. His family told police he left his phone at home but he often found ways to contact them throughout the day when he did so.
"He would definitely always just answer back, so that was, right off the bat, very suspicious. It was just, ‘Oh why didn’t he answer?’ That never ever happens,’” Loveday's oldest daughter, Kayleigh Purnell, told local news outlet KRIS 6.
Thousands of people had joined in the search to find the 47-year-old pastor according to the Christian Post. A sheriff's deputy reportedly located Loveday's vehicle with him in it on South Staples Street in Corpus Christi. Police say that no foul play is suspected in the pastor's death.
"He was the one who kept us going. When we were hurting, he was hurting as well,” church member Emily Massey said to KRIS 6. “He was our shepherd, and now we’re a flock missing our shepherd.”