A grave robber from Kentucky who plundered Native American burial sites has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for his crime.
Authorities started their probe on 60-year-old Gary Womack of Simpson County after another man notified them claiming that Womack mentioned to him about keeping a vault in his house “with skeletons in it.”
The man who would later be witness said that Womack had invited him to look at artifacts he had boasted that he allegedly taken from Mammoth Cave National Park and other spots.
The National Park Service decided to investigate and sent an undercover agent to pose as a California man who sold and traded Native American artifacts to meet with Womack several times.
A news release about the case, as well as court records, reveal that the police didn’t exactly find any skeletons in Womack’s house during the raid, but the probe later showed he dealt in artifacts such as arrowheads, which were removed from Native American grave sites in caves and rock shelters in south-central Kentucky, and from burial sites in other states.
Womack also admitted to the undercover agent that he once dug up a Native American grave near Mississippi River and discovered a skull, but that it disintegrated when he picked it up.
The grave robber also dug up at one point the headless skeleton of a woman. On another occasion, the bones of an infant horrifically fell apart when he pulled them from a grave.
Womack sold to the agent artifacts from a mound in Posey County, Ind. It’s a grave thing, however, as several people were prosecuted in the early 1990s after digging into the mound.
Artifacts from the said site were supposed to have been reburied, but Womack managed to buy items from the site in 2015.
The FBI had to assist in the probe.
Womack pleaded guilty to three felony violations of a federal law designed to protect archeological resources. The charges against him also included artifacts from public land in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
U.S. District Judge Greg Stivers was so disturbed by Womack’s crime that he reminded him that he had dug into the graves of the ancestors of Native Americans and all that disrespect in exchange for profit despite being aware that such action is illegal.
Police recovered all the artifacts involved in the case and rightfully returned them to the tribes.