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Family Buried Decorated Korean, Vietnam War Vet In Backyard After Apparent Suicide, Nassau Cops Say

NORTH BELLMORE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A North Bellmore neighborhood has had a steady police presence for two days, so neighbors were relieved to hear there was no danger to them.

As CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff reported, they're scratching their heads at why a family would bury a loved one in the backyard.

Homicide detectives worked for a second day, scouring the overgrown property surrounding 1369 Pea Pond Road -- digging with shovels in the back yard.

By afternoon they found what they were looking for, buried in a shallow 2-foot deep makeshift grave was a body wrapped in blue.

The search began Thursday, after Nassau Police said a concerned caller alerted them to a suicide -- fearing the family had buried the body outside their home.

Neighbors identified him as Frank Mabry -- a Purple Heart, Korean and Vietnam War veteran in his 80s. His family claims he was ill, took his own life, and had an unusual request.

"In keeping with his wishes, however misguided as it might have been, he wanted to be buried on the property, and that's what we found," Nassau County Police Chief Kevin Smith said.

That can be a felony in New York State -- unlawful disposal of a corpse, and a suicide was never reported.

The Nassau County District Attorney will decide if charges will be filed against the widow or their grown children, or whoever helped them bury the body.

After two days of a heavy police presence, neighbors were unnerved.

"It's not dignified to bury someone in a backyard, especially a decorated war veteran. He deserved a veteran's funeral," neighbor Pat Hatcher said.

The man was found dead with a single gunshot wound, but an autopsy will be done to substantiate the family's story that the man took his own life.


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