Local News

Dare detective trying to crack case of damaged tombstones

Posted March 27, 2014

Doug Oberbeck isn't an archeologist, an anthropologist or a genealogist.

The detective with the Dare County Sheriff’s Department is a criminologist, and he’s working to solve a perplexing case of tombstones that were broken and tossed in a dumpster just outside Frisco.

“We brought them back here and were able to put them together,” Oberbeck said. “The names on the tombstones are Ulethe Fulcher and Robert Basnett.”

Fulcher passed away in 1901, and Basnett in 1896. The historic grave markers were most likely ripped from the ground intact only to be broken and heaved into the trash sometime later.

“I do not think it was vandalism,” Oberbeck said.

Old Cemeteries dot the Outer Banks, making it difficult to tell exactly where the stones came from. Oberbeck said his priority is to find the descendants of the deceased and put the tombstones back where they belong.

“Certainly, we want to know who is responsible for removing and destroying them,” Oberbeck said. “It would make me feel good to return them to their proper place. They’ve been there so long. I just feel it’s the right thing to do. They need to be back to their graves.”

He wouldn’t speculate on why someone would vandalize the markers, but he doesn't think it was a kid's prank. He is asking for the public’s help in identifying the culprits and the family these gravestones may belong to.


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  • fox1011 Mar 28, 2014

    If it helps find family ...

    Euletta C Basnett daughter of Robert Basnett married David Fulcher August 30, 1891 in Dare County.

  • tupelo Mar 28, 2014

    There is a listing on Finda grave for both of these, however, if you look, the listings were added this week,the photos are of the broken stones in the Detective's office and there is no location for the supposed cemetery, Basnett Family Cemetery.
    I think that someone just put them on the site to try and find more info, not to infer that they were buried in said cemetery. There is only one other listing in that said cemetery, for a LM Fulcher, and no dates or pictures.
    Just my thoughts.

  • iopsyc Mar 28, 2014

    Reading between the lines of the Sheriff's quote I would think he means that it isn't simply vandalism; that there was some other motive beside vandalism at play.

  • scvmcdoc Mar 27, 2014

    I don't see how it can't be vandalism considering it is against NC law to desecrate a grave. Det. Oberbeck please see GS-14-149.

  • Beth Pearce Mar 27, 2014
    user avatar

    I'm confused. These tombstones were, according to the caption, vandalized. However, the detective does not think it was vandalism. But the article states that the grave markers were most likely ripped from the ground intact, only to be broken and heaved into the trash sometime later.

    I don't understand how that CAN'T be considered vandalism.

  • Dollars-and-Sense Mar 27, 2014

    On the website findagrave.com, it states these individuals are buried in the Basnett Cemetery in Frisco, NC. Ulethe Basnett Fulcher was the daughter of Robert Basnett. Ulethe has sister named Madora. Anyway, it looks like someone may have already figured out where these markers came from.

  • Margaret Hicks Mar 27, 2014
    user avatar

    It was taken from the Bassnett Family Cemetery in Frisco in Dare county according to find a grave.com.