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Officials investigating possible grave desecration

BELVILLE -- Brunswick county officials are looking into possible grave desecration at a subdivision construction site in Belville. Brunswick County attorneys searched the site near Belville Elementary School Sunday afternoon and found numerous artifacts leading them to believe construction crews could be damaging a grave site. Assistant Brunswick County Attorney Jana Berg says when a state archaeologist searched the site Sunday he found a skull, jawbone and numerous coffin hardware artifacts. Berg says the archaeologist had previously searched the site in September but didn't find evidence of a cemetery. That may be because the archaeologist did not use a metal detector the first time around. The developer can still build on the land under a North Carolina statute that allows him to relocate the remains. The developer can petition if he attempts to contact the next of kin, pays for the relocation of the remains, and makes the new grave site readily accessible to the next of kin. The developer's attorney says the company, Hawkswater, does plan to petition to move the cemetery. The process could take weeks, possibly holding up construction on some of the 450 homes planned for the subdivision.

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