ENID, Okla. (AP) _ Capt. Jim Nivison thought he had figured out where the headstone, found outside a local restaurant over the weekend, belonged. The Bureau of Vital Statistics in Oklahoma City had linked the stone bearing the name Merle Porter to a rural cemetery in Alfalfa County. Pellow Monument Co. even agreed to return it there, Nivison said Wednesday.
But Alfalfa County Sheriff Charlie Tucker told him he had talked to some of Porter's relatives, who confirmed that his headstone is still in place, Nivison said.
``We're back to ground zero,'' Nivison said.
The dates on the headstone match those listed for the birth and death of the Merle Porter listed in Bureau of Vital Statistics records. He was born June 3, 1911, and died Jan. 16, 1957. Nivison said there is only one Merle Porter in the state's records, but there's no indication the headstone at the Alfalfa County cemetery had been replaced at some point in the past.
Ann Pellow Rus of Pellow Monuments said the brown-colored granite that was used for the headstone came from North Dakota.
``This is really a pretty expensive color,'' Rus said, estimating its value at more than $300.
She also said there was no sign the stone had been set in a cement foundation like most headstones because there were no signs of cement on it.
``It's real puzzling,'' Rus said.
The 2-foot-wide headstone is adorned with a cross and an open Bible.
Anyone with information about the headstone should contact the Enid Police Department at 580-242-7000.