Man’s body mistaken for Halloween prop; lawn mowed around him

CHINA GROVE, N.C. (WJZY) — A North Carolina family is upset after their loved one’s body was mistaken for a Halloween decoration and left outside for days.

Robert Owens’ body was found in China Grove. His family discovered that a lawncare worker mowed around his near-naked body, thinking it was a prop. A day later, someone else made the gruesome discovery.

“Don’t know how you can do that,” said Owens’ sister, Haley Shue. “Mow right beside someone and assume that they’re Halloween decorations at a house no one lives at.”

The last time the family saw Owens was Sunday, Oct. 1. It wasn’t until a week later that police found him down a long driveway off of Shue Road in China Grove. He had little clothing on and was face down in the grass outside a home that, family says, has been empty for quite some time.

“My grandmother has lived off of Shue Road for 40+ years,” Shue said, “and he’s never been to this house. He’s never known of this house this far off the road. He’s never been back here. He’s never been known to come here.”

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Police told his sister and mother that the 34-year-old hadn’t been shot. They had to gather the rest from a construction worker on the property.

“Construction worker told us that he had cuts and scrapes on his arms like defensive wounds, his words,” Shue said.

Family members admit Owens was known to do drugs. They say, however, that doesn’t yet explain how he ended up where he did. Police don’t suspect foul play but are still investigating his death.

“His nieces and nephews love him, and he had just gotten my son a jacket, and he didn’t even have the chance to give it to him,” Shue said through tears. “We want answers.”

The China Grove Police Chief told Nexstar’s WJZY that they’re expecting to get more information this week once the autopsy report comes back. Owens’ family says his death has left them with unexpected expenses and they’re trying to raise money for his funeral.

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