CHINA GROVE, N.C. (WJZY) — A North Carolina family is upset after their loved one’s body was mistaken for a Halloween decoration and left outside for days. The family of Robert Owens found out that a lawncare worker had mowed around his near-naked body, thinking it was a prop.
A day later, someone else made the gruesome discovery. “Don’t know how you can do that,” said Haley Shue, the sister of Owens. “Mow right beside someone and assume that they’re Halloween decorations at a house no one lives at.”
The family last saw Owens a week before, on October 1. Police found him down a long driveway off of Shue Road in China Grove. Wearing little clothing, he was face down in the grass outside a home that, family says, has been empty for quite some time.
“My grandmother has lived off of Shue Road for 40-plus years,” Shue said. “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 told the family that Owens hadn’t been shot. They gathered more information from a worker on the property. “Construction worker told us that he had cuts and scrapes on his arms like defensive wounds,” Shue said. “His words.”
Family members admitted that Owens was known to do drugs. They said, however, that this doesn’t yet explain how he ended up where he did. Police don’t suspect foul play but are still investigating his death.
“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 said through tears. “We want answers.”
The China Grove Police Chief told NEWS10’s sister station WJZY that they’re expecting to get more information this week once the autopsy report comes back. The family said that they’re trying to raise money for Owens’s funeral.