LAKE CITY, Fla. – After a 38-year-old mother was found dead in a Lake City apartment and her 14-year-old son was hospitalized with serious injuries Thursday night, a 35-year-old man who identified himself as a friend of the woman was arrested.
Investigators said Nathan Hudgins admitted to hitting her with a piece of wood and told them he would, “Do it again.” Records show he was charged with homicide.
According to police, Hudgins said the woman was beating her teenage son repeatedly and he got tired of it. He told officers he killed her in the child's defense.
According to a police report, Hudgins told investigators during an interview: "I was defending him. I went too far."
He grabbed a piece of wood and used it to hit the mother in the face, a police spokesperson said.
Hudgins had been living with the woman and her son for more than a year, police said. He is not the father of the child.
Investigators were sent to an apartment complex on Northwest Huntsboro Street around 9:30 p.m. Thursday. Inside the apartment, officers found the mother dead from what appeared to be blunt force trauma, police said.
Shortly after midnight, Hudgins was booked into the Columbia County jail and ordered held without bond.
A neighbor who lives next door told News4Jax the woman's name was Sarah. A couple who works in the apartment complex said they often saw Hudgins and the 14-year-old together.
"He would walk the boy, he would walk up and down the street, I think even walked to the store together sometimes," Mistie Ohmer said. "He would stop and say hey to us, him and the boy."
The teenager, who police said appeared to have been seriously injured, was flown to UF Health in Gainesville for treatment.
Hudgins was arrested last May for domestic battery. According to jail records, he is listed as homeless.
The Florida Department of Children and Families is investigating.