Dead man’s corpse left rotting outside house for days after being mistaken for Halloween prop

Robert Owens’ partially-clothed body reportedly went so unnoticed that a local gardener mowed round it

Mike Bedigan
Los Angeles
Wednesday 18 October 2023 21:45 BST
Toddler's body found in North Carolina creek

Police in North Carolina are investigating after a man’s decomposing body was left outside an abandoned house for several days, after being mistaken for a Halloween decoration.

The partially-clothed body reportedly went so unnoticed that a local gardener mowed around it, with the sad discovery made a day later. He was found face-down in the grass.

The family of 34-year-old Robert Owens have expressed shock and horror while demanding answers as to how his body went unattended for so long. They last saw him on 1 October.

Speaking to local outlet Queen City News, Mr Owens’ sister Haley Shue said that police did not suspect foul play, but that the body had been found with “cuts and scrapes” by a construction worker.

“My grandmother has lived off of the road for 40-plus years and he’s never been to this house,” Ms Shue said.

“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.”

She added: “I don’t know how you can do that. Mow right beside someone and assume that they’re Halloween decorations at a house no one lives at.”

Mr Owens’ family admitted that he had been known to do drugs, but are still awaiting the outcome of the police investigation. Ms Shue said that they had been told her brother had not been shot.

“A construction worker told us that he had cuts and scrapes on his arms like defensive wounds,” she said.

“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. We want answers.”

The China Grove Police Chief said the force was expecting to get more information this week and is still waiting for the autopsy to come back.

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