Tip helps Henderson County Sheriff’s Office deputies solve cemetery vandalism case

2 adult, 1 juvenile arrested, charged

Cemetery Vandals Arrested

HENDERSON COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - An anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers helped Henderson County Sheriff’s Office investigators solve the case in which suspects vandalized the historic Goshen Cemetery in Eustace and did an estimated $120,000 worth of damage earlier this month.

Tristian Mikel Castillo, 19, of Eustace, turned himself in at the Henderson County Jail Friday afternoon. Like McKinney, he was charged with felony criminal mischief between $30,000 and $150,000. His bond amount was set at $50,000.

Tristian Mikel Castillo, 19, of Eustace, turned himself in at the Henderson County Jail Friday afternoon. (Source: Henderson County Judicial Records)
Tristian Mikel Castillo, 19, of Eustace, turned himself in at the Henderson County Jail Friday afternoon. (Source: Henderson County Judicial Records)

According to a press release, Chandler McKinney, 22, of Eustace, turned himself in Friday morning, and he was charged with felony criminal mischief between $30,000 and $150,00. McKinney was released Friday after he posted bail on a $50,000 bond amount.

Chandler McKinney is charged in connection to the vandalism of historic cemetery in Henderson County. (Source: Henderson County Sheriff's Office)
Chandler McKinney is charged in connection to the vandalism of historic cemetery in Henderson County. (Source: Henderson County Sheriff's Office) (Source: Henderson County Sheriff's Office)

Tristian Castillo, 19, of Eustace, is expected to turn himself in later today.

After the anonymous tip was submitted to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, investigators obtained felony criminal mischief arrest warrants for McKinney and Castillo. Their investigation also revealed that a juvenile suspect was involved as well, the press release stated.

Charges have also been filed against the juvenile suspect.

District Judge Scott McKee signed the arrest warrants, the press release stated.

According to a previous East Texas News story, the suspects damaged about 35 of the historic gravesites. Grave markers were pushed over and broken in the incident.

“The board members gave us an estimate of probably $3,500 per site,” Henderson County Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said in a previous interview. “So, we’re looking at over $120,000 worth of damage.”

“It’s just a shame to see that they’ve done this to all these beautiful headstones and monuments,” Ricki Kirkpatrick, who has family buried in the cemetery, said in a previous story. “I just don’t get why you would do something like this. It’s a place where family is supposed to be able to come and mourn and remember their family; it just doesn’t make any sense.”

According to a press release, the Goshen cemetery is a historical site that is the last physical evidence of the historic town of Goshen. The town was established after the Civil War and served as a marketing center and rest stop on the Chisholm Trail.

There are about 450 graves at the Goshen Cemetery, with many of them unmarked. The first documented burial was 1869, according to the press release. Pioneer settlers and veterans of various wars are among those buried in mark graves.

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