Skull removed from casket in Hickory cemetery, police say

HICKORY, N.C. — A skull was stolen from a grave at Oakwood Cemetery on Fourth Street Northwest in Hickory, police said.

The vandalism was reported by a city employee around 8 a.m. Thursday. Police said it happened between 3:30 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Officers found the mausoleum of James William Floyd disturbed, with the casket removed. The skull was removed from the casket. No other items were removed.

Police are trying to track down the thief who disturbed the resting place of the 84-year-old World War II veteran, who died eight years ago.

Police believe someone may have used a tire iron to force open the end of the mausoleum to get to the remains.

"It's awful,” resident Cathy Wells said. “I just can't imagine it. It's, I don't know, crazy people."

Floyd fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was honored with a Bronze Star.

The casket with the remains has been taken to a funeral home in Hickory while the mausoleum is being repaired, police said.

Nothing else of value was taken and police plan on stepping up patrols not only at this cemetery but at several others across town as well.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call the Hickory Police Department at 828-328-551 or call Sgt. Dustin Nowatka at 828-261-2624 or email

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