source: Wikimedia Commons

Feds May Press Charges in Strange Case of Stolen Remains


In 2011, a former superintendent of Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa confessed to having removed Native American remains from the site and storing them in his garage. Now, according to a AP report, federal officials are deciding whether to pursue charges against the man, Tom Munson, who is now 74.

The remains included fragments of jaw and leg bones, and are estimated to be between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, and had been housed in the site's museum since the 1950s -- until they went missing. 

Effigy Mounds National Monument is situated in Harper's Ferry, Iowa, and contains over 200 mounds made by American Indians thousands of years ago. The National Parks Service completed its own special investigation, but the U.S. District Attorney's Office may now step in. Munson could be prosecuted by the U.S. District Attorney under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, which provides for civil and criminal penalties for damaging such artifacts.

The remains are being returned to their tribes, but the outrage -- what Johnathan Buffalo, historic preservation director for the Sac & Fox tribe, calls "a stomach-turning anger and disappointment" -- won't go away easily.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page



Sally Alaine Roach
Sally Alaine Roach
Submitted by Sally Alaine Roach on
what a lowlife! Grave robbing is the lowest you can go. this man should be not only charged with theft but with desecration of sacred and holy sites!

toso mustaj's picture
toso mustaj
Submitted by toso mustaj on
If these had been white graves he would have been in jail as soon as the crime was discovered.

Dawn Diana
Dawn Diana
Submitted by Dawn Diana on
when an entire government puts hundreds of thousands of human remains in storage nobody speaks of it. yet it takes a number of years before an private citizen that does it is dealt with, if he wasn't a government employee would they have ever noticed?

Hope's picture
Submitted by Hope on
The questions I have are can the tribes or a Native American rights group sue Munson now? Also what is the reluctance or the hang up with the US Government going after this case? If the charges are true, he stole from the US government parks. Not to mention stealing from the graves is just wrong and illegal to begin with. Yeah he is 74 years old but stealing is just that stealing and I have to wonder if there is more to this issue than what we are seeing

Chi Mukwa's picture
Chi Mukwa
Submitted by Chi Mukwa on
all this POS could see, blindly see, is that those remains were nothing more than curiosity's to be owned. It saddens my heart, when the remains of our ancestor's are disturbed and stolen by ANY grave robber. I could really care less how old that man is, he still committed a heinous crime and should be dealt with as a CRIMINAL.