CARUTHERSVILLE - It was a mystery that took a construction crew and area law enforcement officers underground and back in time.
At about 9 a.m. Tuesday, Caruthersville police officers were called to the Methodist Church where a construction crew was working on a sewer problem. While the crew was digging, they discovered what they believed was a cast iron sewer pipe but during further investigation the crew found what they thought to be a person in the pipe.
An investigation into the incident concluded that the construction crew actually found a cast iron burial vault, said Caruthersville City Marshal Chris Riggs. "A corner of the vault was damaged revealing the remains of the unknown person. No tombstone marked the grave site," Riggs said in a press release.
Investigators learned the area around the Methodist Church served as Caruthersville's only cemetery during the early 1800s. Over time some of the tombstones were moved and placed together on the church property while others disappeared, Riggs stated.
The burial casket, which was not removed from the ground, was covered back up by the construction crew.
The Caruthersville Police Department, Pemiscot County Sheriff's Department, Pemiscot County coroner, Hayti Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol Division of Drugs and Crime Control were involved in the investigation.