Man finds mother-in-law dead on Mother's Day in Cullman County

Son-in-law, Derek Cleghorn, found his dead mother-in-law on Mother's Day.

A woman found dead in Cullman county by a family member becomes a Mother's Day tragedy.

It's a heartbreaking update to a story we first brought you on ABC 33/40 NEWS at five.

Family members confirmed the body of 75-year-old Helen Duke was discovered near Schwaiger Road in Good Hope.

Son-in-law Derek Cleghorn said the day took a turn for the worst. Instead of saying hello to his mother-in-law Helen Duke's smiling face for lunch, family members unfortunately gave her their final goodbyes. Cleghorn told ABC 33/40 NEWS Sunday afternoon, "I don't know what to say. It's one of those ways you don't expect to spend Mother's Day." The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency said a fatal hit and run left a family unable to celebrate their mother and grandmother. A kind soul that Cleghorn said they dearly love. "I've been in the family for 25 years so she is like another mother to me," Cleghorn explained.

Cleghorn said something was strange, when Duke wasn't standing at the door to greet them. "My mother-in-law had invited us up for lunch and (we) got here, and she wasn't here. She didn't come downstairs. She usually will be sitting in the living room," stated Cleghorn. Cleghorn said after they ordered take-out, then checked Duke's room and did not find her, the family began to search the property. What happens next, Cleghorn said, is a living nightmare. "We started looking, made a patrol around the house and didn't see anything. When I started back up here, I happened to look back up to the mailbox because she liked to walk to the mailbox," Cleghorn said. "There was a black shoe like she wore at the edge of the road. I walked over and there she was."

After he found her body with glass nearby Cleghorn called 9-1-1. ALEA is investigating the death as a single vehicle accident. State Troopers believed Duke was struck by an unknown vehicle which fled the scene. Cleghorn said it's a pain he wished his family didn't have to face. "To find your loved one is not with us anymore," said Cleghorn.

Troopers are searching for a possible ford vehicle with damage to the passenger side rear view mirror.

Anyone who may have witnessed the crash, seen this vehicle, or have knowledge of the whereabouts of this vehicle is asked to contact the Decatur Trooper post at 256-353-0631.

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