Update: Man Leaves Dead Animals on Neighbor's Grave Aug 18, 2020 13:41:29 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on Aug 18, 2020 13:41:29 GMT -5
Elderly Man Arrested for Leaving Dead Animals on Former Neighbor’s Grave
An elderly man, Joseph Stroud (above), 78, of Bentonville, Arkansas, has been arrested for allegedly placing 16 dead animals on the grave of his former neighbor, Fred Allen McKinney, who died August 24, 2015, at the age of 94.
McKinney’s relatives found the first carcass May 31, 2020. After that, the dead animals continued to appear on their loved one’s tombstone in Pea Ridge Cemetery. At first, they thought the critters might have died of natural causes, perhaps from eating plastic flowers, so they removed all such items from the grave site.
The dead creatures kept appearing and the family placed surveillance cameras in the cemetery and soon captured a man in drag leaving a dead animal on McKinney’s grave. He was wearing a teal and white lady’s jacket, sunglasses and a grey wig and left the graveyard in a grey Dodge Journey.
On one occasion, Shannon Nobles was jogging past the cemetery and saw Stroud driving away in a grey Dodge Journey. When she checked her grandfather’s plot, she discovered a dead ‘possum on the grave and eight live baby ‘possums inside a flower vase. On another occasion, the body of an armadillo had been hung on the grave marker.
In late July, relatives reported the activity to the police and after checking video surveillance footage from the family’s camera and that of a nearby school, officers proceeded to Stroud’s home at 14479 Mariano Road, where they immediately spotted a grey 2018 Dodge Journey. According to the report, an officer looked through the window of the vehicle and spotted a bath towel with stains “which appeared to be blood.”
Officers then went to the door and informed Stroud they were investigating a complaint of dead animals placed on a grave at Pea Ridge Cemetery and needed to question him at the police station. “I have found through experience that most people would want to know and ask what this was about, which he [Stroud] did not. Joseph said OK, I can head that way right now,” the officer’s report indicates.
Stroud denied any involvement, claiming he was in the cemetery to visit the grave of his wife, Nona Faye Cox Stroud, who died in 2007 and whose grave is near that of McKinney’s.
Nevertheless, police decided there was sufficient evidence Stroud was the guilty party and he was charged with “Defacing Objects of Public Respect,” a Class A misdemeanor if the damage is less than $500. However, it was later determined the armadillo (above) hung over the grave marker left a brown stain on the stone which could not be removed and that part of the monument would have to be replaced at an estimated cost of $2,529.45, and the charge was upgraded to a felony.
According to reports, Stroud and McKinney had never “got on” and at one point, their disagreements resulted in a lawsuit.
Stroud is free on bail and is scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday, September 21.
Sources: Heath Higgs, KNWA, August 14, 2020, and Tracy Neal, The Northwest Arkansas Gazette, August 12, 2020.