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Cops: 'Woman' Who Left Dead Animals on Grave Was No Woman

Joseph Stroud has been arrested in connection with carcasses left at foe's Arkansas gravesite
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2020 7:55 AM CDT

(Newser) – At the end of May, the family of Fred Allen McKinney, who died in 2015, started making some strange finds at his gravesite in Bentonville, Ark.: the carcasses of various animals, which the family initially believed had died after nibbling on fake flowers left in McKinney's memory. According to a probable cause report cited by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and KNWA, the family soon realized the animals' bodies were being left intentionally, per McKinney's granddaughter Shannon Nobles—and now, after a bit of sleuthing, a neighbor, 79-year-old Joseph Stroud, with whom McKinney had a long-standing feud has been arrested. After their suspicions were raised, McKinney's family got the OK from the cemetery to set up game cameras at the gravesite. Their suspect soon started making new appearances, arriving in a grey Dodge Journey, dead animals in hand to place on the tombstone.

The person was wearing sunglasses, as well as a woman's jacket and wig (KNWA has a picture). Nobles herself spotted Stroud leaving the cemetery on two separate occasions and recognized him as a neighbor her grandparents had feuded with. Cops say that when they went to Stroud's house to question him, they spotted a bath towel inside his grey Dodge Journey stained red with what "appeared to be blood." Stroud was arrested Aug. 10 and charged for defacing objects of public respect. He denies those charges and says he was at the cemetery visiting his wife's grave. McKinney's family says about 16 animal carcasses were left in total—as well as eight live baby possums left in a graveside vase—and that one of the animal's bodies left a brown stain on the headstone that can't be repaired. The cost to replace it is more than $2,500. Stroud's arraignment is set for Sept. 21. (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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