A 50-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder yesterday after another man's body was found on an isolated path.
The dead man was named as father-of-two Jimmy Scaife, who was in his 50s and from Sunnydale, in Shildon, County Durham.
He is not expected to be formally identified until this morning.
A post-mortem examination was carried out last night and police expect to release more details about the tragedy today.
Mr Scaife's body was discovered shortly after 9am yesterday by a man walking his dog on a path next to allotments in Green Lane, a few hundred yards from Mr Scaife's home.
Police cordoned off the area, which is between Sunnydale and the town's athletics track.
Forensic science officers examined the area, which will remain closed off until at least this morning.
The arrested man, who is believed also to live in the Sunnydale area, was questioned at Bishop Auckland police station, where an incident room was set up.
Last night, people living in Shildon spoke of their shock at the death, the second major tragedy to hit the town in less than a year.
In May, locksmith Keith Richards, 47, was shot by Durham Police marksmen after he fired a crossbow at officers from his home in Cheapside.
The town's mayor Gareth Howe said the town had been stunned by the latest death.
"This is a terrible thing to hit a small town like this.
"I didn't know Mr Scaife, but I want his family to know that we are all thinking of them and send our condolences.
"It is a dreadful thing to happen, especially over Christmas, and the second time we have had to face something like this this year."
Last night, people in the town described Mr Scaife as a decent, quiet fellow who was well known in Shildon.
Callers should ring the non-emergency number 0345 6060 365 and ask for the incident room which has been set up at Bishop Auckland police station.
Alternatively call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.