Bowman man arrested for allegedly digging up grave on Easter Sunday

Police responded to the Bowman Cemetery, where it appeared someone had attempted to exhume a grave. The suspect faces a class C felony

Stark County Courthouse
The Stark County District Courthouse is pictured.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

BOWMAN, N.D. — A Bowman man was arrested and charged with allegedly digging up a grave at the Bowman Cemetery after the deceased individual's family reported the incident on Easter Sunday, April 9.

According to the Bowman Police Department, the family discovered the grave site had been tampered with and reported it to police. Responding investigators found a 5-foot-long and 3-foot-wide hole, with about a foot depth dug into a decades-old marked grave. Police also found several scattered hand tools around the area.

Bowman Police also discovered that objects that had been placed at the grave site in honor of the deceased were also missing. According to police, a suspect was identified early in the investigation and after a thorough review of the evidence, led to the arrest of Anthony Jo Partida-Breen, 38, of Bowman.

Breen, Anthony 001.JPG
Anthony Jo Partida-Breen, 38, of Bowman, charged with violating the protection of human burial sites, human remains and burial goods.
Photo courtesy of the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center

Partida-Breen was subsequently charged with a Class C felony under North Dakota Century Code for violating the protection of human burial sites, human remains and burial goods. According to court records, this latest incident joins a long series of arrests for Partida-Breen, dating back to 2002. The lengthy criminal history contains numerous misdemeanor charges across multiple North Dakota counties, and are mostly related to drugs and alcohol.

According to individuals familiar with Partida-Breen, he has mental health issues and needs psychiatric help.


Police transported Partida-Breen to the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center in Dickinson, where he is being held without bond.

In a public statement, Bowman Police Chief Charles R. Headley said his concerns were over the privacy of the family of the deceased.

"The deceased names will not be released by our agency, out of respect to the families' privacy over this shocking event," he said.

If convicted of the Class C felony, Partida-Breen could face up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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