BENTON - The Scott County Sheriff's Department is investigating what appears to be the theft of a human corpse from a century-old grave.
The investigation is related to a large hole dug in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery located off a rural road north of Route HH several miles east of Miner.
The hole is next to the headstone of John W. Harris who was buried in 1884.
Sheriff Rick Walter said he is not sure how deep remains from a grave site that old might be or if a body has been removed. Investigators are probing the immediate area, he said, to see if there are any remains still at the site.
Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd said that if the grave was indeed disturbed, this type of activity would be covered under Section 194.410 of the Missouri's Revised Statutes which state that any person, corporation, partnership, proprietorship, or organization who knowingly disturbs, destroys, vandalizes, or damages a marked or unmarked human burial site commits a class D felony.
Also, any person who knowingly appropriates for profit, uses for profit, sells, purchases or transports for sale or profit any human remains without the right of possession to those remains as provided in sections 194.400 to 194.410 commits a class A misdemeanor and, in the case of a second or subsequent violation, commits a class D felony.
"If an investigation uncovers facts that warrant the filing of this type of charge, the case will be pursued," said Boyd.