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.