Police investigate after 144-year-old gravestone is found in a front yard

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GREENWOOD, Ind. (June 4, 2014) — It’s an obscure mystery that has baffled the Greenwood Police Department for the last 12 years.

They’ve been trying to figure out how a gravestone, belonging to a 1-year-old boy who died 144 years ago, ended up someone’s front yard. A woman who was planting flowers came across the stone, which belongs to Charles A. Smith, who died on August 6, 1870. He was buried at a cemetery in another part of Indiana. Det. Sgt. Eric Klinkowski is wondering how it got from there to here.

“We really don’t have any idea of how it got here,” he said. “It’s a complete mystery to us how that stone ended up here.”

The stone was uncovered in 2002. Police took possession of it and tried for years to figure out where it came from and who took it.

“We’d have to assume it was probably a prankster or someone that maybe got scared and decided they had to get rid of it somehow, so they buried it. but we really don’t know,” Klinkowski said.

There’s also the uncertainty of how long it had been buried where it was. Police turned to social media in hopes of getting someone’s attention who could help solve this mystery. Caryn Turrel saw the post on the Greenwood Police Department’s Facebook page and did some research. During a phone conversation, Turrel told FOX59’s Eric Levy that she used Ancestry.com and other family search websites and discovered it belongs in Kosciusko County, which is up near Elkhart.

“We are really glad that we have the support and citizens that help take care of our department like we take care of them,” Klinkowski said.

The police department expects the gravestone to be returned to its rightful spot this week. In the meantime, how it got from Kosciusko County to Greenwood–and who did it–may always be a mystery. Who knows, maybe social media can solve that, too.

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