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Ft. Snelling Grave ‘Significantly Disturbed’

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Authorities are trying to figure out who desecrated the grave of a Minnesota World War II veteran.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and Veterans Affairs are investigating, but right now aren’t saying a lot about what was found.

A man, who served in World War II, died and was buried at the gravesite in the 1970s.

The deceased man’s family has been able to peacefully visit his grave for nearly 40 years. But an overnight act of disrespect has now changed that.

“What we do know is it is very disturbing and certainly for the family of the man. We have been in contact with them already,” said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

On Thursday morning, a maintenance worker found what investigators say was a considerable amount of dirt removed from the man’s grave.

The burial site is one of more than 170,000 at Fort Snelling, which covers more than 430 acres.

Investigators say they haven’t heard of any other cases like this in recent memory. They want the public to know that this type of crime is a felony, and one that they take very seriously.

“We do not know what the motive is, but we will find out what the motive was. And we will find the people responsible for disturbing the gravesite of this brave guy who served in a past World War,” said Stanek.

As a part of that, Stanek said they may have some surveillance video they can review.

There was no damage done to the grave marker.

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office. Because they consider this a crime scene, the man’s family has to be notified before his name can be released.

His body was exhumed as part of the investigation and has been taken to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office.

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