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April 15, 2010

Remains may be from private cemetery

Sheriff department has secured site since Tuesday

Workers digging a foundation at a home on 600 East apparently found skeletal remains Tuesday.

Surrounded with yellow crime-scene tape, a blue tarp covering an area below the north end of the home and under the guard of a sheriff deputy, the site sits on a bluff overlooking the Eel River to the west and Mount Calvary Cemetery 30 yards to the northeast.

“I didn’t know about the body until (Wednesday),” said Ken Troutman, a 40-year resident of the area. “I saw the sheriff cars [Tuesday] and they had a 24-hour watch on it.”

Cass County law enforcement officials wouldn’t discuss the situation at 717 N. 600 East Wednesday.

“As of right now, there will be nothing released. Hopefully by (this) afternoon we will have a news release,” Cass Sheriff Maj. Mike Day said late Wednesday afternoon.

Coroner George Franklin also declined to comment.

“As soon as something becomes available, we will make a press release. Right now there’s really nothing to report,” he said.

Miami Township trustee Kyle Anderson may have provided the answer to the mystery Wednesday night.

A genealogy Web site (www.incass-inmiami.org) run by Ed and Debby Beheler lists cemeteries in Cass County and displays them on maps by township.

The site where the reported skeletal remains were found appears to match the description of what is known as Reed Private Cemetery, which at one time had at least 11 graves. The earliest burial dates to

1836 with the last burial just prior to the Civil War.

The Web page on Reed cites a 1940 report by R. B. Whitsett Jr. of L’Anguille Valley Memorial Association.

“This now unidentifiable and long practically forgotten cemetery (having no tombstones at all) is approximately 1/8 mile south of”

what is now the intersection of 100 North and 600 East (Cass Station Road) on the west side of 600.

It also notes that when the road “was straightened, widened or made to run the section line ... a number of skulls and other bones are said to have been inadvertently exposed.” The report goes on to say those were re-interred “just west of the present road.”

Philip Waggoner, who lives immediately to the north of the home, said the scene has been secured round the clock by deputies since they arrived Tuesday.

“There were guys up redoing the inside of the house. [Tuesday] they were digging and all at once the cops came in, put the tape up around everything and put the tarp up,” he said.

“The way they’re acting, I would say they probably found a grave up there.”

Mount Calvary Cemetery lies on the east side of 600 East. The oldest graves in the cemetery are dated 1885 with most of the burials occurring in the early 1900s. The last burial was in 1995.

• Staff writer Denise Massie contributed to this story.

On the Web

www.incass-inmiami.org/cass/land_map/miamimap.html

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