Mysterious tombstone appears along I-77 in Mecklenburg County


HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) — A mysterious tombstone was found near the I-77 construction zone, and there’s no word yet on how it got there, who had it or why.

If you blink, you’re likely to miss it, but one FOX 46 Charlotte viewer saw it clearly and snapped a photo. A large marble tombstone dedicated to Dorothy Edna Smith, laying on the side of the highway.

Smith apparently died young. She was just 35-years-old and passed away more than 60 years ago.

“It is a head-scratcher, it’s not every day you see a grave marker fall off on the interstate,” Sam James with James Funeral Home said. FOX 46 contacted the funeral home for help solving the strange mystery.

James Funeral Home in Huntersville is right down the road from where the tombstone was found. James says it’s not one of theirs, but he says the way it looks leads him to believe it was a replacement marker that may have been accidentally tossed.

“It’s a brand new grave marker. Even though she died in the 50s, someone ordered it,” he said. 

And it’s probably a good thing it got tossed onto the road too, and not through someone’s windshield.

“It weighs anywhere between 75 and 100 pounds,” James says.

Dorothy Edna Smith remains a bit of a mystery. FOX 46 searched birth and death records in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Iredell and Lincoln counties for her and her daughter, Maxine, assuming they have the same last name, but nothing came up.

“It doesn’t appear that Dorothy was local to our area, so we just don’t know the full story behind it,” James said.

After we told James about the tombstone, he reached out to a monument company out of Statesville that says they plan on picking up the tombstone in the morning.

Even though it’s not one of theirs, the company says they’re going to keep it safe until it’s claimed.

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