PEA RIDGE, Ark. – A 78-year-old Arkansas man was accused of placing dead animals on a gravestone of his former neighbor causing more than $2,500 in damages, officials said.
After noticing various dead animals on the headstone for about two months, the family of Fred Allen McKinney were given permission by the cemetery to set up surveillance cameras, KNWA reported.
“At first, they thought it was just a coincidence and thought maybe the animals were consuming the fake floral and dying. When they began finding more dead animals, they realized it wasn’t just a coincidence, someone was placing the dead animals there purposefully,” investigators said.
The family had removed 16 dead animals. One of the carcasses was draped over the stone, and stained it, officials said. A replacement headstone is $2,529.45.
Video showed the driver of a grey Dodge Journey place a dead animal on the headstone then walk back to the vehicle. Police also said the images appeared to show the person tried to disguise themselves by wearing a woman’s jacket, sunglasses and wig.
Shannon Nobles, a family member of McKinney’s, was at the cemetery one day and followed a grey Dodge Journey that was leaving the graveyard. The driver was Joseph Stroud, who owned a farm next door to McKinney and shared a boundary with him.
She later was running near the cemetery and noticed Stroud leaving in the Dodge Journey. She checked the gravesite and found a dead possum and eight live babies.
Investigators took Stroud into custody. He denied involvement. He was arrested Monday and charged with defacing objects of public respect. He has since been released.
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