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Man Faces Charges After Digging Up Casket In Fayetteville

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Cumberland County detectives say charges are now pending in the case of an unearthed grave.

On Oct. 5, Beauty Spot Missionary Baptist Church members were at their cemetary cleaning up when they found a young child's casket near a large pile of debris.

Freddie West, who owns a backhoe operation in Lumberton, said in the process of digging a new grave, he must have dug up an old one. He first told deputies he never saw the casket, but on Wednesday, he changed his story.

West now said he accidentally dug up the casket and discarded it. Detectives say he could not explain why he just didn't tell someone.

"He just made a bad decision, a bad choice," said Lt. Sam Pennica, of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

The pastor of the church said he was glad someone was charged in the incident, but at the same time, many members of the church forgive West.

"That's the motto of a Christian. We don't burden another person down. His response may not be the same as yours or mine, but he has to live with himself," church member Thelma Manuel said.

West was released on an unsecured bond. Because it is his first offense, suthorities said he will not face jail time. West has also promised to bury the child's remains in a new casket with a headstone.

Investigators say had West followed industry standards and probed the ground for a casket before he started to dig, the whole situation could have been prevented.


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