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Duluth police find headstone in abandoned building

DULUTH - More than a week ago a Dunwoody family claimed a cemetery headstone found on a Gwinnett roadway, but the story of floating headstones is not over yet.

Duluth police announced Thursday officers found a headstone in an abandoned building located in downtown Duluth.

Chiseled with only the words "In Memory of Clayton Shadinger" into a granite background, police believe the block was removed from a cemetery and dumped at the building.

"We believe the stone was put there within the last month," said Lt. Tim Harvey of the Duluth Police Department. "The building was checked not too long ago and it wasn't there."

Harvey said investigators have been working for the past two weeks to find the family or someone who may know about the stone, but their efforts have produced no owner.

Two weeks ago Gwinnett County police found themselves in a similar predicament. Officers enlisted the help of the media to find the owners of a headstone engraved with the name Reuben Irving Ball.

The stone had been sitting in the Police Department's property room for six months. The stone was found at the intersection of Buford Highway and Pittman Circle at 12:47 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2006. Police believe Ball's stone possibly fell off a truck while being moved.

Ball's stone was returned to the family April 24.

Harvey said investigators are unsure how exactly the Shadinger stone ended up inside the vacant building, but said his hypothesis is the deed was done by some local teens.

"There have been some kids in there (the building) doing some graffiti work and vandalism," Harvey said. It is believed some teens dug up the stone as part of a joke, Harvey added.

The building located on the 3200 block of Main Street was once home to a landscape business, Harvey said. With a large drive-in delivery area in the back, Harvey said it would have been easy to drive a truck into the building and dump the stone.

Harvey said finding a headstone is not a normal occurrence for officers.

Officers are requesting the help of Public Works to secure the stone until it is claimed by a rightful owner, Harvey said.

Anyone with information about the stone is asked to call the Duluth Police Department at 678-512-3726.