Local cemetery has 24 graves disturbed

Wednesday, July 11, 2012
(By Sabrina Westfall) Antioch Cemetery Trustee Judy Dudley surveyed the damage done by vandals after they toppled over 24 headstones of all sizes on the west end of the cemetery. The parents of the 19-year-old girl's headstone she looked over had recently visited from Ohio to find their daughter's stone laying on its side.

The cemetery is a person's final resting place on earth, and also a mourning area for family members left behind.

In the case of one local cemetery, that place of rest has been disturbed at more than 20 graves.

Antioch Cemetery Trustee Judy Dudley -- who serves the cemetery along with her husband Terry -- said it was reported July 2 that 10 stones had been knocked over, and last weekend 14 more had been tipped.

The cemetery, located near Dugger on the Greene and Sullivan county line, dates back to the early 1800s, and is even the resting place of one Civil War soldier.

"They (overturned stones) are pretty well contained to the west end. The shocking part is they aren't knocking over the old stones, they are knocking over new stones. I think it's because the new stones are two pieces -- separate from the base -- and the old stones are one piece," Dudley said.

An estimate from Hunt Monument Works in Dugger shows it will cost around $2,000 just to get the stones set back up.

"As far as my husband and I -- and the cemetery -- is concerned, we are going to get them set back up because we think that is the right thing to do," Dudley said.

Her concern is the additional cost of any damage made to the stones when they were vandalized.

"It will be about $4,800 to repair stones and all just from what they can see. A couple of them are the black granite, and those are really expensive," Dudley added.

Doug Neal was passing by the cemetery Tuesday afternoon when he noticed his father-in-law and brother-in-law's stones were overturned.

"What happens if they do this and they get broken? ... It's bad enough now that a lot of people can't find jobs, but a bunch of punk kids are out knocking over stones," Neal said. "And it's not just about the expense. This is just disrespectful."

Dudley said she finds it heartbreaking these stones have been tampered with, partially because the cemetery holds family history.

Terry Dudley's father, Roger, is also a cemetery trustee, and his grandfather served as a cemetery trustee dating back to the 1960s.

"It dates back in our family even. A lot of their ancestors were buried there," Dudley added.

She said it was also upsetting when she got a call from a family after they found their daughter's headstone had been knocked over.

"I had a lady call me to see what to do about the damage. They had came from Ohio to visit family, and while they were here they went to their daughter's grave. They were very upset. I can only imagine," Dudley said.

She added another aggravating factor is the vandals are probably just out "having fun," and meanwhile damaging what was left of a passed family member.

"I just think it's disrespectful. That is someone's loved one. They have taken care of the stone. It's so important to mark graves, even for a historical point and genealogy," Dudley said.

If anyone would like to help offset the cost of resetting and repairing the stones, donations can be sent to 4680 N. 1375W Linton, Ind., 47441.

Dudley said if anyone has information regarding the vandalisms, they are encouraged to contact the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department at (812) 268-4308.

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  • So sad

    -- Posted by truthorfiction on Wed, Jul 11, 2012, at 4:29 PM
  • @GCDW...I wonder what is the punishment if these criminals are caught?

    Very sad, indeed. And so disrespectful.

    Maybe if the vandals feared punishment, it would deter these crimes.

    -- Posted by Blueyedame on Wed, Jul 11, 2012, at 7:39 PM
  • My family is n that cemetery. That's the only thing I have to follow our family line. How can a young person think in any way shape or form that this vandalism is ok?! I hope they get caught ans are charged appropriately.

    -- Posted by mlockhart on Thu, Jul 12, 2012, at 8:33 AM
  • I was out at Antioch this morning and am appalled at the damage done. Whoever did this should be publicly whipped and made to clean up the damage they did and pay for repairs. The cemetery board has done a great job in maintaining this valuable piece of history and to think someone defiled this cemetery is disgusting.

    -- Posted by georgipow on Thu, Jul 12, 2012, at 9:50 AM
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