An Arkansas farmer disguised himself as a woman to sneak into a cemetery and deface the grave of his longtime nemesis with animal carcasses, police say

Credit: Brais Seara Fernandez/EyeEm/Getty ImagesTombstones in a cemetery.
  • Joseph Stroud, 78, was charged earlier this month with defacing objects of public respect after the family of Fred McKinney found dead animals on his grave multiple times between May and July.
  • In a probable-cause report seen by Insider and first reported by KNWA, the police said Stroud disguised himself as a woman and visited McKinney’s grave to drop off the animal carcasses.
  • McKinney’s granddaughter told the police that McKinney and Stroud were neighbours who “never got along with each other.”
  • Stroud has denied any involvement.
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A farmer in Arkansas was arrested earlier this month, accused of defacing the grave of his former neighbour and longtime nemesis with animal carcasses.

Joseph Stroud, 78, disguised himself as a woman when he visited the grave of Fred McKinney in Benton County, Arkansas, just north of Fayetteville, a probable-cause report reviewed by Insider and first reported by KNWA said.

McKinney’s granddaughter, Shannon Nobles, told the police she started finding the dead animals at the grave in late May. By July, when the family reported the incidents, they had found 16 dead animals.

“At first, they thought it was just a coincidence and thought maybe the animals were consuming the fake floral and dying,” the probable-cause report said. “When they began finding more dead animals, they realised it wasn’t just a coincidence, someone was placing the dead animals there purposefully.”

The family put cameras up near McKinney’s grave with the cemetery’s permission and eventually recorded someone walking to the grave wearing a teal windbreaker, a wig, and sunglasses. The police identified the person as Stroud.

When officers from the Pea Ridge Police Department visited Stroud’s home on August 6, they found a blood-stained towel in his 2018 Dodge Journey, the probable-cause report said.

Stroud was arrested and charged with defacing objects of public respect, a Class B felony, and was later released. He has denied any involvement.

Nobles told the police that Stroud and her grandfather shared a land boundary for several years.

“Shannon said Joseph and Fred never got along with each other and there was even a lawsuit between them where she thought Joseph had lost,” the probable-cause report said.

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