Fairview Cemetery in Leitchfield was recently vandalized.
According to Richard Alvey, a certified archaeologist and gravestone restorer from Clarkson, the tomb of Earl and Edwina Anderson was damaged when a stone urn was smashed against the end of the tomb.
The stone urn cracked the inscription stone of Earl Anderson, a World War II veteran. Edwina Anderson taught in the Grayson County school system for 46 years, Alvey said.
Also, at a nearby gravesite in Fairview Cemetery, a statue was knocked over, said Alvey.
Based on the condition of a broken vase near the Andersons’ tomb, the vandalism likely took place over the weekend of May 3 through 4, Alvey said.
According to Detective Kevin Smith, of the Leitchfield Police Department, given the recent vandalism, the LPD will have extra patrol around local cemeteries.
“If we catch anyone doing this, we will do everything in our power to see that they’re prosecuted,” Smith said.
While the LPD does not receive many complaints regarding the vandalism of cemeteries, when the agency does receive them, usually the complaints involve several cemeteries, according to Smith.
Thomas Cemetery, located on Cemetery Hill in Leitchfield, has also suffered severe damage. Monuments have been broken and knocked over, and, in one case, a tree fell in on grave sites, Smith said.
A common misconception is that vandalism is typically done by juveniles, but, according to Smith, most local cases involving damage to property have involved adults.
According to Kentucky Revised Statute 525.115, violating graves is a Class D felony, and a person is guilty of violating graves when he or she intentionally does any of the following:
(a) Mutilates the graves, monuments, fences, shrubbery, ornaments, grounds, or buildings in or enclosing any cemetery or place of sepulchre; or
(b) Violates the grave of any person by destroying, removing, or damaging the headstone or footstone, or the tomb over the enclosure protecting any grave; or
(c) Digs into or plows over or removes any ornament, shrubbery, or flower placed upon any grave or lot.
The provisions of KRS 525.115 do not apply to “ordinary maintenance and care of a cemetery nor the removal and relocation of graves pursuant to procedures authorized by and in accordance with applicable statutes.”
According to KRS 525.115, the court shall order any defendant found in violation of this statute to restore the cemetery to its pre-damage condition.
Depending on the severity of the damage, defendants may be charged with criminal mischief, as well, Smith said.