Update: Mystery of WWII tombstones discovered in Nebraska partially solved

5:13 PM, Sep 30, 2010   |    comments
  • Courtesy: KETV-TV
  • Courtesy: KETV-TV
  • Courtesy: KETV-TV
  • Courtesy: KETV-TV
  • Courtesy: KETV-TV
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The mystery of the WWII tombstones with Knoxville ties found in a Nebraska garage earlier this month, has been partially solved.

13 tombstones were discovered in the garage of an abandoned house.

According to the Knoxville Police Department, their joint investigation with the Omaha Police Department has determined that the headstones were not stolen from Knoxville.  They were never sent here, because of possible manufacturing issues.

Omaha is unsure if a theft occurred from the monument plant due to a lack of records from that time frame.  They still ahve not been able to determine how the tombstones ended up in that abandoned garage.

Omaha PD is releasing the grave markers to the Omaha VFW Post 10758 for shipment back to Knoxville. The cemetery will then arrange placement of the stones on their proper graves with the family's approval.   Two of the three families of the men named on the tombstones have been located.

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The discovery of three World War II headstones in an abandoned Nebraska house has provided a mystery for the Knoxville Police Department.

According to KETV-TV, on Tuesday police were called to an abandoned house in Omaha after several complaints of trespassers.  Inside the garage, authorities discovered 13 tombstones.  Three of them are believe to have a Knoxville connection.

Omaha officials notified the Knoxville Police Department, who are trying to track down the families of the men on the tombstones, so they can be returned.

One family has already been located.  Relatives of Howard H. Biggs, who according to the tombstone was born December 23, 1913 and died on February 9, 1994, said the tombstone was never delivered.  Biggs served in the US Army.

Investigators are asking for the public's help to identify and locate the families of:

  • Freeman Embree Brown, Jr.
    DOB 1-5-1928
    DOD 4-5-89
    US Navy

  • George Andrew Tate, Jr.
    DOB 6-17-1919
    DOD 3-14-65
    US Naval Reserve

According to KETV, no one was around when officers arrived. Neighbors said the home sat empty for about a year. Omaha Police are trying to track down the last tenants.  Investigators there say they have no idea why the tombstones were there.  They said they don't know why thieves would take something that had little financial value for them.



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