Local News

Raleigh man's remains found buried in flowerbed

Posted May 31, 2011 5:59 p.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2011 10:32 p.m. EDT

— Police say no foul play is suspected in the death of a Raleigh man whose body was found buried in the backyard of his home. 

The remains of David Bostic were found in early May under a concrete flowerbed at 706 Colleton Road, Raleigh police said Tuesday.

Questions about David Bostic's whereabouts began in February 2010 after police found his wife, Ruth Bostic, 78, dead of natural causes in the home. 

Neighbors told police that Ruth Bostic had been married, but they believed her husband had died because they hadn't seen him in more than 15 years.

Neighbor Sandy Smith said David Bostic had a stroke and was taken to the hospital. He was never seen again.

Smith said Ruth Bostic would often shy away from questions about her husband. 

"You would ask her about him and she would say, 'He is in the sky,'" Smith said. 

Authorities did not find a death certificate and believed David Bostic might have been living in a nursing home. The last record Wake County had of David Bostic voting was in 1996. He would have been 84 at the time. 

Months later, the Social Security Administration contacted Raleigh police inquiring about David Bostic's whereabouts, according to search warrants. The agency said benefits checks for David Bostic were being directly deposited into a bank account he shared with his wife until her death. 

The call prompted Raleigh police to open a missing person's case.

At the urging of neighbors, police began looking at the possibility that David Bostic was buried underneath a slab of concrete in the home's front yard. 

"Everything kept leading back to the house, the last place he had been seen," Smith said. 

Raleigh police obtained a ground penetrating radar from North Carolina State University's Forensic Science Department and examined the front yard in March. The radar found that something was beneath the concrete and crews quickly removed the slab. Instead of David Bostic's remains, authorities found a water line. 

Authorities then turned their attention to the backyard and a concrete flowerbed. Neighbors said Ruth Bostic had a privacy fence built around the area and also seemed to spend extra time there. 

"It used to make me wonder what she was doing talking to the ground," Smith said. 

Crews began digging up the flowerbed on May 4 and over the course of two days found the remains of David Bostic. 

Bostic had been dead for a long time before being discovered, police said. 

While the medical examiner could not determine the cause of death, Bostic was identified by a metal plate that had been placed in his hip during a surgery. 

Bostic would have turned 99 this year.