A North Carolina family is demanding answers after their loved one’s body was found dead after days of people thinking it was a Halloween decoration.
Robert Owens, of China Grove, North Carolina, was found dead in front of an abandoned home. His family soon discovered that his body had been there for days and that a lawncare worker had mowed around Owens’ nearly naked body, believing it to be a Halloween decoration.
“Don’t know how you can do that,” Owens’ sister, Haley Shue, told Queen City News. “Mow right beside someone and assume that they’re Halloween decorations at a house no one lives at.”
The China Grove Police Department released a statement saying officers spoke to the groundskeeper, who said he believed the body was a mannequin.
“However, the groundskeeper stated, he believed the body to be a fake dummy used for training by numerous law agencies on the property over the last few years and did not report it,” the department said in the statement, according to People Magazine.
The family had last seen Owens on October 1, but his body was discovered a week later, on October 10, lying face down in front of the abandoned home.
“My grandmother has lived off of Shue Road for 40+ years,” Shue told QC News, “and he’s never been to this house. He’s never known of this house this far off the road. He’s never been back here. He’s never been known to come here.”
Police only told Owens’ sister, Haley, and mother, Brenda, that the 34-year-old wasn’t shot. They learned more details about the condition of his body from a construction worker on the property where it was found.
“Construction worker told us that he had cuts and scrapes on his arms like defensive wounds, his words,” Shue told QC News.
Police are investigating Owens’ death. While his family said he was a drug user, they don’t know how he ended up where he was found. Police reportedly don’t suspect foul play but are investigating. Police said an autopsy was performed in Raleigh, and preliminary findings showed no signs of assault or other trauma to Owens’ body.
Owens’ family, meanwhile, can’t believe he’s gone.
“His nieces and nephews love him, and he had just gotten my son a jacket, and he didn’t even have the chance to give it to him,” Shue told the outlet, crying. “We want answers.”
The China Grove Police Chief told QC News that the department expects more information this week and is waiting for a toxicology report to determine his cause of death.