Elderly Arkansas Farmer Accused Of Leaving Dead Animals On Late Neighbor’s Grave
The alleged culprit reportedly disguised himself as a woman to evade detection.
A farmer from Bentonville, Arkansas, was recently taken into custody for allegedly causing over $2,500 in damage to a headstone by repeatedly tossing dead animals on his late neighbor’s grave.
According to a probable cause report, Joseph A. Stroud, 78, first came under suspicion after the family of Fred Allen McKinney, who died at age 94 on August 24, 2015, went on a mission to figure out why the carcasses suddenly began appearing in May, Northwest Arkansas’ KNWA-TV reported.
“At first, they thought it was just a coincidence and thought maybe the animals were consuming the fake floral and dying,” the report states. “When they began finding more dead animals, they realized it wasn’t just a coincidence, someone was placing the dead animals there purposefully.”
Family removed approximately 16 carcasses from the grave, according to the report. McKinney’s granddaughter, Shannon Nobles, told Pea Ridge police that on one occasion she found a dead possum on the grave and eight live baby possums stuffed in a flower vase flanking the headstone.
Family requested permission to set up video surveillance in the cemetery and eventually caught on camera an individual approach “the headstone with a dead animal in hand, place the dead animal on the headstone, and walk back to his vehicle,” a gray Dodge Journey, the probable cause report states.
Police said the images showed what appeared to be a male disguised in a gray wig and sunglasses wearing blue slip-on shoes with white soles and a woman’s windbreaker over denim overalls.
Nobles, who twice spotted a gray Dodge Journey departing the cemetery, was able to help crack the case when on one occasion she tailed the vehicle to the parking lot of a Walmart, where she recognized Stroud as the driver.
Police compared video and photos from the unidentified culprit at the cemetery with Stroud at Walmart and saw both were wearing the same blue slip-on shoes.
When they went to Stroud’s residence, investigators said they observed through a window what “appeared to be blood” on a bath towel in the back of the suspect’s 2018 Dodge Journey.
Stroud has denied he had anything to do with leaving the dead animals on McKinney’s grave.
According to the probable cause report, Stroud and McKinney “had farms next to each other with a shared boundary for several years.”
Nobles told investigators the two men “never got along with each other” and she claimed Stroud may have once lost a lawsuit with her late grandfather.
Stroud faces a felony charge of defacing objects of public respect.