Longtime magistrate Searcy dies of heart attack

By Kevin Spradlin

Forty-eight-year-old John Searcy, a Richmond County magistrate for more than 10 years and a former Rockingham Police Department, died suddenly Thursday morning at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital in Pinehurst.

John Searcy

John Searcy

Searcy is a 1984 graduate of Richmond Senior High School. He leaves behind a wife, Sandy, and a young son, Zane.

Searcy had recently taken a new lease on life and emphasized spiritual and physical fitness. In January 2013, reporter Dawn Kurry profiled Searcy in the Richmond County Daily Journal. There, Searcy discussed how he began a diet called Body by Vi, or ViSalus, and had lost 150 pounds in a 12-month period.

Lucas McDonald heard the news of Searcy’s death via text message early Thursday morning. He was hopeful it wasn’t true. He first tried to text Searcy. No response. He then went to Searcy’s Facebook page. There was nothing posted, so McDonald, 31, was hoping for the best.

But he’s also friends on Facebook with Searcy’s wife. Her page, McDonald said, “was flooded with condolences.”

“He was like a brother to me,” said McDonald, of Hamlet. “You don’t find too many like him. He was the type of person that … I could name so many things. I could call any time of the day … any time of the night … if it was something he could put down, he would. It’s a sad situation all the way around.”

McDonald said Searcy was “highly respected by anybody he came into contact with. He was a great man.”

Once a brief story was published on PeeDeePost.com shortly after 10 a.m. and shared on the Post’s Facebook page, social media lit up. In four hours, the story was shared more than 205 times and elicited more than two dozen comments on that page alone.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to John’s family and friends,” wrote Lynn Kerns. “I had the opportunity to know John when he worked as a police officer and as a magistrate. He was a good man with a big heart. He really showed people he cared. I’ll never forget him working as a security guard at the old Hardee’s … I worked across the street at the store back in ’96 and he always walked across the highway to buy him a snack or something to drink and just talk. He kept an eye out for the store, too, I think. I’ll always remember him. He will be missed by many.”

Wrote Diana Marie Soto: “He was a great man. He will be missed. My condolences to his family. Richmond County has some big shoes to fill.”

“I remember John well,” wrote Elaine Small Morgan. “He was a classmate of my son Kevin. A fine man from a really great family. My prayers for comfort.”

Magistrates for each county are appointed for two-year terms by the Senior Resident Superior Court Judge upon nomination of the Clerk of Superior Court. Magistrates are officers of the district court, and they are subject to the supervision of the Chief District Court Judge in judicial matters.


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