A groundskeeper mowed around a dead man’s body next to an abandoned house thinking he was a Halloween prop, according to the victim’s loved ones.
Robert Owens, 34, was reportedly last seen by family on Oct. 8, two days before authorities found him face down and half naked in the yard next to a China Grove, North Carolina, house that has apparently been empty for a long time, Queen City News first reported.
Owens’ family called his death “suspicious” in a GoFundMe page for funeral expenses, saying his passing has left “his family with many questions that will hopefully be answered soon and justice served to all individuals involved.”
“He was stripped of his clothes and belongings, leaving him in his underwear and socks for over 24 hours face down in the yard next to a house,” Haley Reavis wrote on the GoFundMe page description. “He was found once on [Oct. 9] by a lawn care employee that assumed he was Halloween decorations or a mannequin for K9 training and was never reported to authorities.”
Reavis continued, “Who in their right mind mows a yard at a house that has power on and no one has lived there in a while, but the property is used for k9 training for years, can assume a half naked dead body with scratches and glass around it is Halloween decor[?]”
China Grove Police Chief Andrew Deal pushed back against claims that the groundskeeper thought Owens’ body was Halloween decor.
“The groundskeeper to my knowledge did not think it was a Halloween prop,” Deal said in an email to Fox News Digital. “However, he did not think it was real.”
Police reiterated the suspicious nature of Owens’ death in a press release, stating, “At this time there is no signs of foul play but the case is being investigated as suspicious.”
On Oct. 10, a day after the groundskeeper mowed the property’s lawn, a construction foreman apparently saw Owens’ body and reported it to authorities.
“We have evidence that has been handed over to the detective. If you’re reading this and you were involved just now you will get what you deserve very soon,” Reavis wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the case to contact the China Grove Police Department or email Detective C. Frantz at email@example.com.