Historic Lawrence County Cemetery Damaged: 100-year-old Headstones Smashed Against Others
A historic cemetery is heavily damaged, with several headstones dating back more than 100 years old shattered.
Relatives of those buried at the Early Pasters Cemetery in Lawrence County are hurting and want the culprit to pay.
WHNT NEWS 19 caught up with Doris Baker, of Decatur, trying to piece back together the headstone of a pastor buried there more than 100 years ago.
She believes someone crushed the headstone against another during a destructive assault on the cemetery.
“Why would somebody want to hurt a family?” Baker asked. “Because it’s hurting to see all this.”
It is hurtful to her, specifically, because her parents and grandparents and other relatives are buried there.
In fact, she expects it will be her final resting place.
And Baker was appalled to find it desecrated in such a way, with headstones pulled from the ground, knocked over and broken.
“I can’t think of a reason somebody would come way down here and come all the way out here and do this,” Baker said, standing amidst the damaged headstones.
“We’re still working on it,” said Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell. “I feel like we have some ideas of who it might be just by some of the things we saw there.”
Mitchell visited the cemetery himself to see the damage.
His investigators took evidence from the scene, where they found an area where someone had burned something.
Baker says the graves of several children are located under the black mark left behind from the burning.
Mitchell believes whoever did this randomly did as much damage as they could.
Baker hopes the vandals will be caught and prosecuted for their destructive disrespect to those who’ve been laid to rest in peace.
She says she’s looking into putting a fence around the cemetery to keep trespassers out.
If you have any information about this vandalism, call the Shoals Area Crimestoppers at 256-386-8685.