Update: Military grave markers found defaced

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Updated: 3/22/2013 10:25 pm Published: 3/21/2013 9:51 pm

FOX23 News has been searching for where five soldiers are buried.

Five military grave markers were found stolen in a trailer behind a stolen vehicle, according to Tulsa police. 

FOX23 has been told they were possibly never at a gravesite and just duplicates.  Memorial Park in Tulsa located one of the soldiers whose name was on a defaced marker: Private Lueverdis Cary Taylor.  Her marker is not a government issued one, but a privately bought one that sits, unharmed in Memorial Park. 

Stanley Funeral Home helped FOX23 located Tec.4 Leron Grant gravesite.  They said he is buried at Haskell City Cemetery.  The Haskell city administrators told FOX23 Leron was buried next to his wife, Margie Grant; however, when FOX23 went to look, only Margie’s grave marker was there.  Leron’s marker was nowhere to be found.  There were some empty spots around her marker. 

Stanley funeral home also helped find Private Fred A. Moore’s gravesite.  They said he is at Memorial Park in Tulsa.  On Thursday Memorial Park’s sales director, Linda Kennedy, said there were several Fred Moores buried there but not a Fred A. Moore.  FOX23 asked the funeral home to confirm the middle initial and they said it was a J and not an A.  They did confirm though that Fred J. Moore was a private in the U.S. Army and he did serve in WWII and he did die on the same day that Fred A. Moore died on.  So then Kennedy confirmed their Fred J. Moore is a match to the defaced marker that reads Fred A. Moore. 

FOX23 News still needs to locate:

•Army’s Sgt. Larry James White who served in WWII
•Army’s Private First Class Robert Lee Hill who served in Korea

3-21-13 (Original story)

A local cemetery is confused about where five soldiers from both WWII and Korea are buried.

Five military grave markers were found in a trailer being towed behind a stolen vehicle on March 14.

Tulsa Police arrested Brandon Powell on a driving a stolen vehicle charge. The vehicle was returned to the dealership he allegedly stole it from, but the trailer was given to Tulsa’s downtown Storey Wrecker from the dealership.

Inside the trailer were the five military grave markers.

Each marker is defaced. Some are cut down the middle and others have lettering picked off.

“It looks like someone tried to pick them apart to sell the bronze material for scrap metal,” said Storey Wrecker’s officer manager and Navy veteran Kyle Hilton.

Hilton was an E4 for five years and says it breaks his heart to see his military brothers and sisters graves treated so disrespectfully.

“It makes me sick to my stomach,” said Hilton. “They have already made the sacrifice of serving our country and then this is how they are treated? No.”

Hilton has called local cemeteries and the local Veterans Affairs’ officer but no one can seem to find where all five soldiers are buried.

Memorial Park was able to identify one name: Private Lueverdis Taylor. Her defaced marker said she was part of Korean War.

A cemetery official doesn't think the markers were ever used on the graves.

“Private Taylor’s marker is here though,” said Memorial Park’s sales director, Linda Kennedy. “We located her grave marker today (Thursday). It’s there and her husband is set to be buried next to her. When we called the number connected to her husband, the number was disconnected. We thought maybe the family, when Private Taylor died, went to the funeral home with her VA paperwork, like all of them do, and had the funeral home order a government marker. Then when they buried her here, they also bought one from us and that’s the one we used here, that’s the one you can see on the ground here. So, I believe the funeral home had the one that was defaced or maybe it was in a storage unit and then stolen from there. Regardless of where it was, it was not right to be taken. Our veterans get so little when they come home at least they have that precious government marker, they deserve it and more.”

On Friday, Kennedy plans to reach out to each funeral home who worked with the late veterans and find out exactly where they were buried.

Hilton will ship the defaced markers to Washington D.C.’s Veterans Affairs’ office next week.

The names on the defaced markers are:
•U.S. Army’s Private Fred Moore, he served in WWII
•Army’s Sgt. Larry James White who served in WWII
•Army’s Tec.4 Leron Grant also serving in WWII
•Army’s Private First Class Robert Lee Hill who served in Korea
•Army’s Private Luveredis Cary Taylor who also served in Korea
If you recognize these veterans’ names contact FOX23’s Danica Lawrence at dlawrence@fox23.com and on Facebook.

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