Oxford Eagle, Thursday, December 29, 2011

Groundskeeper Finds Body at Rowan Oak

by Loretta Winston
Staff Reporter

The body of an unidentified man was discovered Monday morning by a groundskeeper at Rowan Oak, the historic former home of Pulitzer Prize winning author, William Faulkner.

According to a source close to the investigation, groundskeeper Ben Moreland, who found the man's body, had been preparing to move a boulder near the tree-lined South entrance to the Rowan Oak museum home. Moreland was recalled to the office to complete some paperwork, helped another groundskeeper with a project, and when he returned a few hours later, he discovered the body. Moreland reportedly told investigators he had not seen the man on the Rowan Oak grounds prior to the time he found the man dead.

Speaking at a press conference late Wednesday afternoon, Elizabeth Jones, Public Information Officer for the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, said the dead man is believed to be a German national who had been in Oxford only a short time. It is believed the victim was staying at the Ole Miss Motel on University Avenue with two traveling companions, a man and a woman. Jones declined to say whether the victim's associates have been identified and interviewed. Jones did confirm that the death is being considered a homicide, but gave no details about how the man was killed. The identity of the victim is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin.

Rowan Oak was the residence of William Faulkner from 1930 until his death in 1962. The University of Mississippi has owned and operated the home and the surrounding property since purchasing it from the Faulkner family in 1972. The museum at Rowan Oak is closed Mondays and, according to Rowan Oak Curator Linus Broadwell, will remain closed until the Sheriff's Department completes their on-site investigation. A public announcement will be made when the reopening is scheduled.

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