Century-old tombstones vandalized in Lauderdale County cemetery

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Someone vandalized multiple tombstones at a cemetery in Lauderdale County, some dating back 100 years and more.

Investigators with the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department said it happened at the Murphy Chapel Freewill Baptist Cemetery sometime between April 1 and April 4. They're offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who knows who caused the damage.

"Maybe we can find out who did it one of these days," said longtime cemetery caretaker Ronnie Brown. "It'd be nice to find out."

Brown said he's been taking care of Murphy Chapel Cemetery for about 35 years, if not more. In all those years, he said he's never seen vandalism so heartbreaking.

"It's awful, I  mean awful for somebody to do something like this," Brown said. "Of course all these tombstones are old graves and we got a lot of history here. The civil war and even back further the people buried here."

Tombstones were knocked in half, some shattered. It's destruction Brown said is hard to replace.

"It's priceless really, with the names and everything on there, it's just priceless."

Brown said he locks the gates every time they're opened. That's a task he thinks is already such a pitiful part of his job. But the worst has happened even with the gates locked. There are open doors and back woods, so the cemetery is alway open, even for vandals.

"They'll be punished for it no doubt about it. One of these days."

If you know anything about this vandalism, call the Shoals Area Crime Stoppers tip line at (256) 386-8685. That call is anonymous.