Feds May Press Charges in Strange Case of Stolen Remains

Federal officials are deciding whether to pursue charges against a man who removed remains from Effigy Mounds National Monument.
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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.