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Cremated remains missing from Fayetteville graveyard

The remains were stolen from Cumberland Memorial Gardens, 4509 Raeford Road, out of a display called the Rock of Ages, police said.

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Police on Tuesday were searching for the person who stole cremated remains from Cumberland Memorial Gardens, 4509 Raeford Road.

Diane Jones had stored the remains of her son, Charles Eugene Jones II, in a granite display called the Rock of Ages. The 27-year-old committed suicide last September.

"We were just starting to be able to deal with it. And this is just like he died all over again. It's just devastating," Jones said Tuesday.

Jones had been visiting her son's remains three times a week at the Cumberland Memorial Cemetery. She would often sit there in her lawn chair.

"It makes me feel closer to my son," she said. "He's an only child, and I want to be as near to him as I can be."

On Friday, she noticed his ashes were gone.

Jones said in December a set of praying hands that were engraved atop the grave marker were also taken.

"The cemetery and church are sacred grounds. You just don't do stuff like that," she said.

A few weeks ago, Jones said someone used nail polish to write the letters "A" and "R" on the rock border beside the grave.

"He had no enemies at all. He was friendly with everybody," Jones said of her son, who left behind now-2-year-old twins.

The director of the cemetery referred all questions to Service Corporation International, the business' corporate offices in Texas.

"Our hearts go out to the Jones family at this time. Theft of any kind is unacceptable, but theft from cemetery property is particularly despicable," Service Corporation spokeswoman Jennifer Lange Brandino said. "By their nature, cemeteries are open and available to the public, and restricting all access at all times is unrealistic. We hope that whoever committed this crime is caught and brought to justice, and we encourage anyone with information to come forward."

No other grave stones appeared to have been tampered with on Monday.

Jones said there is a $3,000 reward for the return of her son's remains.

"I don't care about prosecuting anybody. That's not what I want. I just want him back," Jones said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police at 910-433-1856 or 910-483-TIPS.

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Bryan Mims, Reporter
Michael Joyner, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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