Retro Charlotte

Mystery solved: Murder in Elmwood Cemetery, 1959

“Curious specatator peers into mausoleum.” Sept 21, 1959
“Curious specatator peers into mausoleum.” Sept 21, 1959 The Charlotte News

From the September 21, 1959 Charlotte News: “The body of Mrs. Foy Belle Dickson Cooper, of 408 W. 7th St., was found yesterday inside a Negro mausoleum in Pinewood Cemetery. Mrs. Cooper was white. She apparently had been raped.

“The body was found by Ronnie McCauley (age 14), 124 S. Cedar St., when he climbed through a tiny opening in the mausoleum after a friend dared him to do it.”

Police said Mrs. Cooper was visiting her mother’s grave when she was attacked. This video illustrates the distance from the grave the victim was visiting to the mausoleum where her body was found.

Click here to see Mrs. Cooper’s gravesite and to read what happened to the suspect. Then take a look at the photos -- be sure to read the captions.

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How this blog post came about: I tweeted the photo (top) last week and got an intriguing message from a local police officer. He said he’s heard stories about a murder in the ‘50s where the victim’s body was found in a mausoleum, and could that be a photo from the scene? The minute I got in the office I was searching microfilm on the date on back of the photo: Sept. 20, 1959. Sure enough, there was a lot of coverage of the grisly crime, particularly in the old afternoon paper, The Charlotte News. My readers are the GREATEST!

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