Family speaks out after son was killed in Yell County hunting incident

Local News

YELL COUNTY, Ark. – Almost five months after a 20-year-old was killed in a hunting incident in Yell County, the family is finally getting justice.

When John David Sykes talks about his son Jared, he said it was hard to find a moment when he didn’t have a smile on his face.

“Jared was an amazing kid. He was the kid that everyone loved, the kid that everyone loved to be around,” Sykes said.

Some of his favorite moments with his son are when they sported camo and a bright orange vest spending their days outdoors.

“Fishing with Jared, hunting with Jared, him always wanting to tell people about the next biggest deer that he’d seen that he was going to kill,” Sykes said.

Jared grew up learning to cast a rod and shoot a gun, but on January 17th he died in a hunting trip gone wrong.

“The guy that always had a smile on his face will no longer be there,” Sykes said.

Around midnight, Jared and some friends were out off Carden Bottoms Rd hunting coyotes when suddenly bullets started flying at them.

According to a report from the Yell County Sheriff’s Office, Scott Douthit was staying with a few others in a cabin nearby when they heard coyotes.

They went out to the porch. Douthit used a thermal imaging scope on his gun and fired six or seven shots at what he thought were the coyotes, but it was Jared who was hit in the stomach.

“They met the ambulance in front of our house,” Sykes said.

Jared was taken to the hospital but died from his injuries.

“Half expecting to see him walk back through the door and know it’s not going to happen,” Sykes said.

Now, 148 days later, Douthit has been charged with manslaughter. While Sykes knows that won’t bring his son back, he says it’s the first step in getting justice.

“When you hold a gun, when you fire a gun you’re responsible for that bullet. There’s a realization that no you can’t take someone’s life and say ‘oh it was an accident and it doesn’t count.

No this is not the way things work,” Sykes said.

Douthit was released on a $25,000 bond.

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