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Texas graverobbers 'used skull to smoke dope'

Three cuffed over morbid tale

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Houston Police Department is investigating a teenager's claim that he and two accomplices desecrated the grave of an 11-year-old boy, severed his skull, and subsequently used it as a bong to smoke marijuana, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Kevin Wade Jones Jr, 17, of Kingwood, made the shock confession when being quizzed by cops about a vehicle burglary. He recounted how he and two chums "used shovels to dig up the body and removed the corpse's head with a garden tool" at a cemetery in the Humble area, north-east of Houston.

Senior officer Jim Adkins said he initially believed the yarn was designed "to distract police from the vehicle break-in", and recounted: "I just doubted it because it's very morbid, and I couldn't see anybody doing something like this."

However, when Adkins confronted another of the alleged graverobbers, 17-year-old Matthew Richard Gonzalez, he changed his mind. He said: "He regurgitated in his plate of food when I asked him about it. So I knew there was some truth to the story."

Gonzalez, Jones, and a third unnamed minor admitted in statements they "tried to dig up a body over a two-day period". Police checked the story and Adkins confirmed the grave was "uncovered, and the headstone had been thrown off the grave and broken".

Due to heavy rain which had flooded the grave, cops were unable to ascertain whether the skull had actually been removed, and since the accused offered "conflicting stories about whether they actually severed the head", that gruesome details remains in doubt.

The grave in question belongs to 11-year-old Willie Simms, who died in 1921, according to court records. It lies in a cemetery "believed to be reserved for black [war] veterans and their families" - although little is known about the site.

Whether or not the three suspects actually removed the skull will not affect the prospects of their standing trial on an "abuse of a corpse" misdemeanor rap. Adkins explained that a person "can be charged with abuse of a corpse simply by vandalising, damaging, or treating a gravesite offensively - even if the human remains buried there are not touched".

Accordingly, the trio were arrested on Wednesday and also charged in relation to the vehicle break-in. The Houston Chronicle adds: "Jones and the juvenile are charged with credit card abuse, while Gonzalez pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor theft between $50 and $500."

Police are now trying to trace surviving relatives of Willie Simms. Adkins concluded: "The ultimate goal will be to put this body back to rest." ®

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