Vandals Strike Another East Texas Cemetery - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/20/06-Smith County

Vandals Strike Another East Texas Cemetery

Vandals strike at another East Texas cemetery, destroying the headstones that mark the lives of loved ones.   This latest case of vandalism was discovered last night at the Walnut Springs Cemetery on County Road 4199 near Lindale. The cemetery is just West of the Lindale City Cemetery, which was also hit by vandals on Sunday.   Today, people who have loved ones buried at the Walnut Springs Cemetery got to see the damage for themselves.

"Shock, disturbed," said Robert Nelson, whose family is buried there. "Yeah, just trying to figure out who in the right frame of mind would take a place, a final resting place". Reverend Efrem Collins and Robert Nelson are the caretakers for Walnut Springs Cemetery, a small cemetery tucked back in the woods.   What they saw this morning, they say is unimaginable.

"Eight to ten, maybe 12 headstones moved, destroyed, kicked over, just desecrated," said Reverend Collins. This cemetery is especially close to Reverend Collin's heart.   His father's grave is one that was vandalized.

"Words cannot express the sickening feeling that I had when I found out that his grave had been destroyed, not only his grave, but his father's and mother's grave also," said Reverend Collins. Nelson also has family members buried here, his mother and father, two siblings and a niece, but the vandals didn't touch their graves, which are surrounded by the American Flag.

"Don't know why," said Nelson. "I was talking with Brother Collins and maybe they have a lot of respect for the flags that are displayed and no respect for the dead that are buried. " Nelson says the vandals need to understand how they are affecting families.

"It brings hurt, and it brings sadness, in a sense it tends to re-open wounds that maybe have begun to heal," said Nelson. "I say to whoever might have done it, that the grave is your final destiny as well." Both Nelson and Reverend Collins hope the vandals think about that before they cause even more grief.

Officials say they do believe the same vandals are responsible for both cemeteries. Lindale police are still offering a thousand dollar reward if your tip helps catch whoever is responsible.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com

 

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