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      Author Dale Hudson's death, still a mystery

      The Marion County coroner says Hudson wasn't killed, but isn't sure how he died.

      Questions remain following the death of Dale Hudson, the Conway man who wrote true crime books about infamous South Carolina murders. Hudson's body was found floating in the Great Pee Dee River over the weekend.

      The Marion County coroner says Hudson wasn't killed, but isn't sure how he died.

      Dale Hudson's business was in assisted living facilities for the elderly, but his passion was writing about true crime. Now, Hudson's friends and family are left to speculate about his own untimely death.

      Years ago, Hudson became fascinated with the case of Crystal Faye Todd, the Conway teenager murdered by Ken Register in 1991. Hudson approached a friend, CCU psychology professor Billy Hills, to help him write a book about the case. Hills says Hudson was a crackerjack researcher. "He knew how to find information and he could really just go after it with a tenacity that's just truly remarkable."

      The result was "An Hour to Kill," a true crime book that Hills says still sells well today. The lead investigator in the Todd murder says Hudson interviewed him more than 30 times, and was a meticulous note taker. "He would ask the same question 4 or 5 different ways to make certain of his details prior to, I guess, writing his book," said former detective, Bill Knowles.

      Hudson went on to write more books, including "Dance of Death" about the murder of former stripper Renee Poole's husband. Hudson would sometimes suffer from painful migraine headaches and his wife told Hills about Hudson's way of dealing with them. "She said that he often would throw cold water on his face and that made him feel better," said Billy Hills.

      So after Hudson's body was found in a river, Hills speculates that maybe Hudson had stopped there to cool himself off and slipped in the water. "It might have just been a tragic accident," he said.

      Hills says he can't imagine his friend's death being a suicide, because Hudson was always upbeat and positive. Hills hopes the autopsy will help provide answers for Hudson's family. "If not, then maybe they'll always have some lingering doubt as to what happened."

      The Marion County Coroner is waiting for toxicology tests to come back on Hudson's body to see if they shed any light on how he died.

      Hudson and Hills were working on two more true crime books when Hudson died.