Parishioners shocked by vandalism -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Parishioners shocked by vandalism


Someone drove a truck through a Colquitt County cemetery. Graves were damaged and so were the church grounds, and families of those buried there are outraged.

Leila United Methodist Church is like many country churches. It's been around for a long time. But members never expected someone to trespass on their property and recklessly drive through the cemetery. It's senseless destruction on sacred ground.

Several people showed up at Leila Methodist Church Cemetery today to see the vandalism with their own eyes. "I have a mother, father, two brothers, brother-in-law, and a little niece," All buried here. Geraldine Gray wanted to make sure her loved ones graves weren't damaged.

"Just decided to check things out, but it's not in our area," she said. "Makes you wonder why someone would want to do this in a cemetery."

It's clear a pickup truck drove through the middle of the cemetery riding over marble slabs. The truck bogged down and in the process plowed over grave markers shoving them into the ground.

 "To see this happen is very saddening to us." Frances Martin serves on the cemetery committee at Leila UMC where grave markers date back to the mid 1800's.

She believes the act was committed last Saturday night and hopes whoever did it, not only gets caught, but that it weighs on their conscious. "I want them to think about this for a long time, and think that if this were their family or loved ones out here, how would they feel if this happened to them?"

Now the church is considering something it hasn't had to in 130 years-- a security fence to prevent this from happening again.

Prior to this, only problems with people riding dirt bikes and four-wheelers through the cemetery grounds had been reported.

So far there is no cost estimate on the repairs. The damage wasn't terribly severe but it's the principle that has folks outraged. That church is on Ellenton-Omega Road.

The Colquitt County Sheriffs Office is investigating. If you have any information call them at 616-7430.


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