North Carolina Groundskeeper Mows Around Dead Man Thinking Corpse Was Halloween Decoration or Police Dummy: Report

Body in North Carolina Mistaken for Police Training Dummy
Source: GoFundMe

A groundskeeper did not report the body because he thought it was either spooky decor or a police training dummy, but a construction worker reported it the next day.

Oct. 21 2023, Published 12:04 p.m. ET

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A man's body found in a small town in North Carolina was mistaken for a Halloween decoration or dummy by a groundskeeper, who reportedly mowed the lawn around the corpse and went about his day.

Police are investigating the death of Robert Owens, 34, whose body was found face down at an abandoned log cabin, as reported.

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The property where Owens' body was found in China Grove, northeast of Charlotte, is used for police training. A construction worker discovered the body in a yard next to a house on the property on Tuesday, October 10, and reported it to police.

The day before, a groundskeeper saw the body but didn't report it, assuming it was either spooky decor or a police training dummy, according to a GoFundMe page set up by his family.

Owens was stripped of his clothes and belongings and was lying on the lawn in his underwear and socks. He was also reportedly covered in scratches and surrounded by glass.

Owens' sister Haley Shue told NBC News the family was "heartbroken" because her brother's body was exposed for too long to hold an open-casket memorial for him.

Shue said her family last saw Owens on Sunday, October 8, when he spent time with a friend. Later that day, he was picked up by a different friend, and didn't return home to his grandmother's house where he lived, Shue told NBC.

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His grandmother's home was reportedly nearby the property where he was found, a place Shue believed he had never been before.

An autopsy found no signs of assault or trauma to the body, according to local news station WBTV. Investigators were awaiting the toxicology report to determine the cause of death.


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