Vandals target historic cemetery

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Vandals recently targeted the Concord Cemetery near Wheaton, knocking over headstones and destroying several gravesites.

The vandalism was first reported to Clayton Montgomery who serves as president of the Concord Cemetery Association. He then filed an incident report with the Barry County Sheriff's Department.

Concord Cemetery is one of Barry County's oldest cemeteries and several of the damaged gravesites were those of Civil War soldiers as well as infants who died in the 1800s. There was also evidence that the vandals attempted to carry some of the headstones out of the cemetery.

Montgomery said he and three other members of the Cemetery Association board spent half the day last Thursday setting up 15 headstones that had been toppled. The work required the use of a Bobcat, because some of the stones were very large.

"We set back up what we could," said Montgomery. "Sadly, some were beyond repair."

The incident remains under investigation by the sheriff's department. Investigator Doug Henry said he was able to collect a large number of beer cans from the cemetery grounds.

"I got some good fingerprints that have been sent off to the lab," said Henry. "If I get some hits back on the fingerprints, I'll definitely be making some arrests."

Henry said the recent case of vandalism is not the first to occur at Concord Cemetery.

"The cemetery is out in the middle of nowhere," said Henry. "It's a hidden spot to drink beer and party. I wish they'd find some place else."

Anyone with information about the vandalism case can contact Henry at 847-6556. All information will be kept confidential.

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